Aleia Agbayani is having a typical day at ‘Iolani, arriving early for class and grinding through the workload.
Oh, and there was that ceremony at the Hawaii Convention Center at 6 a.m., when the senior softball standout signed a letter of intent to accept a scholarship from the University of California at Berkeley.
“It’s a big relief. I’ve been waiting awhile to do this,” said Agbayani, an ace pitcher and the team’s leading hitter, their leader in RBIs and run scored. “My mom, my dad, brother and sister, they’re al excited.”
Agbayani is rarely on down time. The ceremony ended at roughly 7:20 a.m., and she went back on Kapiolani Blvd. to ‘Iolani’s campus for psychology and physics classes. That’s not much distance, but she does make regular trips to California to play for the Orange County Batbusters.
“That’s where I play club ball. There are tournaments, showcases and practice. I’ve been doing it since sixth grade,” she said. “My dad (former MLB player Benny) works for the airline, so it’s kind of worked into my schedule like a normal thing. I don’t get jet lag anymore.”
In the summer, she stays in California to play nonstop for the club team.
“That’s allowed me to unofficially commit to Cal so early,” said Agbayani, who pledged to the Bears after her freshman year.
Meanwhile, ‘Iolani’s program continues to challenge for the ILH and state titles.
“I’m super pumped about the season coming up. We’re definitely going to be a great team. We’ve got lots of new, younger girls,” said Agbayani, who is now one of the senior leaders. “I kind of keep things loose, but we want to be in order.”
She felt especially grateful to her family.
“Definitely, shout out to my grandparents (Faith and Benny Sr.). They’re always there, and my mom (Nila) and dad,” she said.
Agbayani is one of 10 student-athletes out of the 69 who signed on Wednesday to do so in softball.
Punahou’s D’Asha Saiki will join Agabayani at Cal, where former Kamehameha All-State player of the year Kamalani Dung will be a senior this year.
Kailyn Barrett, a teammate of Agbayani’s at ‘Iolani, signed with Cal Poly.
For the full list of student-athletes who signed letters of intent this morning, click here.