Take a look at the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II baseball standings and you will see St. Francis at the top of the heap.
The Saints are coming off a 13-0 win over Damien on Wednesday and are now 10-1 in the four-team league.
Head coach Kip Akana talks about his players as unselfish and team-oriented, and that there are others who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the team is doing things the right way.
“Any success that St. Francis has had on the field is a direct result of the commitment and support from our head of school, Sister Joan of Arc Souza, as well as from our two athletic directors — Duane Eldredge and Chad Konishi,” Akana said.
Eldredge comes from the well-known Punahou baseball family and Konishi is a former University of Hawaii player and assistant coach. So, you can expect baseball to be a focus in the school’s athletic department.
On the field, the Saints have three seniors and sometimes put four freshmen in the starting lineup.
“We are a very young team, but the seniors provide great structure for our young guys to operate in,” Akana said.
Going into Wednesday’s game, right-handed pitcher Laakea Phillips was 5-0 with 37 strikeouts, only five walks, and a .333 average with two home runs at the plate.
Jared Yara is another team leader at catcher, on offense (.500 average, four doubles and three triples), and on the mound, where he was 3-0 going into Wednesday.
In addition, freshman Makana Poole is batting .476 with three doubles and four triples while playing catcher, second base, third base and pitcher. Shawn Ellis is another big bat in the lineup, and second baseman Zach Alcos has been an effective closer.
“Last year, we were senior heavy, graduating eight seniors,” the coach said. “So, we expected this season to be very challenging. My staff and I, recognizing that, made a firm commitment to stress the most basic fundamentals of the game. It started from the offseason and continues every day. Defensive fundamentals. Hitting fundamentals. Every day.”