Dunn Muramaru knows his numbers, and he knows Chase Wago likes numbers, too.
Muramaru, the longtime baseball coach at powerhouse Mid-Pacific, teaches math at the school. Seventh-grade math. Wago, a senior ace, lists mathematics as his favorite subject. He’s even taking AP Calculus and calls math in general, “fun.”
Wago, according to Muramaru, hardly says a word. That’s just fine with Muramaru, one of the finest teachers on and off the field in Hawaii prep baseball history.
“Coach Dunn, he helped me with the mental side of the game,” Wago said. “Different situations. What to do and what not.”
Though Muramaru is not kidding when he says Wago is a “no-maintenance” kind of student-athlete who is the kind of young man “you want your daughter to date,” there’s no mistaking it — the left-handed hurler and hitter is a craftsman.
Randall Wago, his dad, was a player at Kaimuki and Muramaru remembers the elder Wago pitching for the Bulldogs back in the day.
“He was a lefty, too, I think,” said Muramaru, who was a coach at Kalani at the time.
As a young keiki, Wago learned to throw a curve ball from dad.
“I was in Mustang, so I think I was 9, but when I was growing up, I never threw it that much,” he said. “I threw it like a football. I didn’t break it with my wrist.”
What dad imparted to son was a realization that learning to pitch meant staying off any kind of reliance on the big bender.
“I didn’t think it was necessary to throw a curve ball that young. As I grew up, I know why I didn’t throw it,” says Wago, who says the pitch is just 10 percent of his repertoire.
His other pitches?
“I probably save it. You just test out a lot of stuff,” Wago said, crediting Owls coach Craig Hayashi for the development of his sneaky slider. “He helped fine-tune me and help me with the mental game.”
“I learned it from one of my coaches from Ewa Hurricanes, Shag Hermosura,” Wago said of the current Campbell softball coach.
This is, much of the time, Wago’s money pitch. Coming off his southpaw delivery, he can use to to freeze left-handed batters as it tails back over the outside edge of home plate. It’s mesmerizing when he has it locked and loaded, which is often.
“It’s a two-seam and a four-seam with slight variations,” Wago said.
And that was enough said. For more, go watch this craftsman in action.
“Our goal is to win states. Anything less would be a failure, not a complete failure, but that’s our goal,” he said. “It’s such a long season, playing every team three times, and every game feels even.”
That means digesting MPI’s two recent one-run losses. At 1-2, they aren’t about to panic.
“I still think about it, but we’ve got to learn from it and move forward. A couple of losses aren’t a big deal. I feel like we have to keep playing as a team. Our biggest enemy is ourselves.”