Damien on upward trend with first major state title

Damien's Pomai Kim pointed to the sky after hitting one of his two home runs in an 11-7 ILH D-II championship game win over St. Francis on April 28. Damien's success continued on Friday with a 12-0 victory over Radford in the D-II state championship game. It was the school's first state title in a major sport. Dennis Oda / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The Damien baseball team that kept on winning against the odds to capture the Division II title in the Wally Yonamine Foundation/HHSAA Baseball State Championships on Friday did something no other team in school history had done.

It was Damien’s first state crown in a so-called major team sport. The school’s four previous state championships were won in what are considered minor sports – boys bowling in 1988 and 1993 and in boys cross country in 1969 and 1970.

In the last two years, however, there were three close calls in which the Monarchs finished in second place – D-I football in 2017, D-II baseball in 2017 and D-II boys basketball in 2018. Another Damien runner-up finish occurred in D-II football in 2003.

“It is definitely great for our athletic department and school as a whole,” said assistant athletic director Eddie Klaneski about the baseball team’s historic championship. “Just being able to break through and finally get one is amazing. We have had several opportunities in the past, but like the past two years with baseball, basketball, football and even boys and girls volleyball. All have made significant improvements over the past few years. I feel like we are at a level where we can compete year in and year out in all major sports. We are definitely in an upward trend and are excited to continue to compete and win more state championships.”

The Monarchs, under coach Timo Donahue, survived seven consecutive do-or-die games to sew up the league and state titles.

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