On the field, the McKinley baseball team is taking its lumps, but that’s OK because it’s a valuable experience for many first-time baseball players.
“We’re struggling, but every day we’re getting better,” coach Kyle Kurahashi-Takenaka said. “It’s a learning process. About half of our roster has never played before or haven’t played since they were very young.”
The Tigers lost their opener 21-2 to Farrington and then suffered a 40-0 defeat to Aiea.
Despite the big loss, Kurahashi-Takenaka said, “None of the players are getting down on each other.”
In a scrimmage Friday, McKinley held its own against Waialua. An official score wasn’t kept, but Kurahashi-Takenaka estimated it was an 8-all tie.
“That was a change,” the coach said.
The two teams play again, for real, on the Bulldogs’ home field Monday. It was supposed to be a league game on Friday, but apparently there was a miscommunication and no umpires showed up.
Four Tigers are ineligible right now due to academics, so the roster is down to 11 from 15. In all, there are five freshmen.
Kurahashi-Takenaka said the JV team went through a similar problem with numbers in the winter. Two players were ineligible and it would have dropped the count to nine players, but the coach’s daughter, Kayla Kurahashi, stepped in to make it a legitimate nine and help out in center field and second place.
Three McKinley players have been leading the charge in the season’s uphill climb so far: returnee Noah Diaz, a shortstop and pitcher; outfielder Kaneala Paro-Cambra; and freshman infielder/catcher/pitcher Royden Espiritu.