The Sea Warriors will play nine
games on the road trip against Central Washington University
and St. Martin’s College from March 26-April 1.
Head Coach Garret Yukumoto is optimistic after his squad took
five of eight games from visiting Grand Canyon University in
a series played from March 4-7 at Hans L’Orange Park in
As we go on the road, hopefully we’ll treat this as a business
trip,” he said. “If we go up there and play the same
great baseball, hopefully we can compete.”
Yukumoto, a former HPU standout, is in his first year as head
coach for the Sea Warriors as they work through a tough 2006
schedule. He hopes to use his baseball experience to enhance
the team’s level of play on the field. Yukumoto, 34, is
also the vice-principal at Leilehua high school, and he wants
to use his teaching and administration experience to increase
the team’s academic standards and success.
Yukumoto played baseball at Aiea high school and played his next
three years at Portland State University. He transferred in 1991
to HPU where he used his last two years of eligibility playing
outfield and first base for the Sea Warriors.
He was an assistant coach at Aiea in 1993 when they took second
place in the O‘ahu Interscholastic Association. The next
year he came back to HPU as an assistant coach for former Head
Coach David “Boy” Eldredge. In 1995 he went to Leilehua
High School as an assistant coach and then became head coach
in 1999. He led the Mules to OIA championships in 2000 and 2004.
I think I bring a different vision and philosophy to the team,” said
Yukumoto. “I try to tie more academics to the program.”
Yukumoto realizes that NCAA play has more responsibilities and
rules compared to high school, but he is ready to take on the
challenge which also includes recruiting, scheduling, and academics.
The biggest advantage that he has with this year’s team
is 10 returning seniors. He identified several players that he
feels have the leadership and experience necessary to make this
team successful. Gavin Conception, Jherell Miller, Mario Ramirez,
Grandon Costa, and Tyler Jefferson will carry the leadership
roles as the captains.
Ramirez, who is off to a great start with a 3-1 record, commented
on the most important facet of the team’s experience. Most
of the team, he said, “has already played with each other
for at least one year, so as far as team chemistry goes… we
already have it, so we can move forward to the important stuff.”
Yukumoto is supported by assistants who bring experience to the
coaching staff. Gary Tokunaga, former Aiea high school assistant
coach, will be in charge of the infield. Former University of
Hawai‘i-Manoa teammates Matt Apana and Tyler Cheff will
work with the pitchers and catchers respectively. The outfield
will be handled by former HPU standout Ikaika Du Pont.
Yukumoto said, “Our coaches bring a different perspective
to the program. They also give us more knowledge, excitement,
We have a lot of depth on this year’s pitching staff,” added
Cruz Hatanaka, “We are more in shape, and this year we
have pitchers, not throwers.”