You would figure a season-opening OIA baseball game would just be another game.
But it wasn’t. Not with Ian Kahaloa pitching for Campbell.
Not with four major league scouts at the park.
After the game, at an 8-0 Campbell win over Waianae on Thursday in Ewa Beach, Sabers coach Rory Pico mentioned that the scouts — more than just the four — come to practice to watch Kahaloa. Some even went to Maui to watch some preseason games.
The right-hander, who was clocked at 92-to-93 mph on the radar gun Thursday, was asked how many major league teams have contacted him.
“All of them,” he said.
OK, so who is your favorite team, Ian?
Without hesitation, the senior said “the Yankees.”
“I get asked that question a lot and I’ve learned not to say it in front of the scouts from the other teams, but they really don’t mind anyway.”
A Yankees scout was on hand Thursday, as were scouts from the Orioles, Red Sox and Rockies. All were approached for comment and all declined.
When pressed just a bit further about how good the bosses think Kahaloa is, one scout said with conviction, “I can tell you he’s pretty good.”
Kahaloa, who struck out 13 of the 19 batters he faced in six innings against Waianae, may take the college route. He has orally committed to Hawaii.
“They (the scouts) come to my house and explain what their organization is all about,” he said.
Last November, Kahaola said some scouts mentioned that he needed to work on his velocity, that his arm slot for his slider was not quite right and that his change-up was a little too wild.
“I worked on all of that all the time, trying to perfect it and I noticed a big difference by January, and they noticed it too,” said Kahaloa, who was a Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State first-team selection a year ago.