Damien relying on experienced leaders and young arms

May 11, 2018: Damien beats Radford 12-0 in five innings to take the Division II State Baseball Championship at Les Murakami Stadium baseball stadium. Dennis Oda /Star-Advertiser

Skyler Tengan’s first season as Damien baseball coach is underway with a big thumbs up.

Damien routed Pac-Five, 12-2, in six innings on Tuesday afternoon at Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.

“I thought the guys played really well. We had really quality at-bats and didn’t try to do too much,” Tengan said. “Dyson Yasuda hit the ball really well along with River Iaea. Everyone 1-9 had good at-bats.”

The Monarchs utilized ninth graders on the mound.

“We threw our freshmen, Peyton Kijek and Francis O’Connor. They both didn’t really have their best stuff, but they went out there and battled, and just let our defense make the plays,” Tengan said. “Hopefully, this game sets the tone for the rest of the season and gives the guys a little confidence.”

Like most baseball programs in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, access to standard baseball fields was limited through the pandemic. With a non-regulation football field and some creativity, the Monarchs have always been resourceful.

“We’ve been practicing at the school and tried to scrimmage about twice a week. I think we got about seven scrimmages in, which was great for the team and I think we should be ready for the ILH season,” Tengan said.

Seniors Iaea and Alohi Arecchi are the longest of long-timers.

“They have been four-year varsity players. They were freshmen on the (Division II) state championship team. We’re looking to them to have a great season. This team has a good mix of freshmen to seniors, and we will be depending on everyone on the team to be successful,” Tengan said.

Reyce Kajiwara, TJ O’Connor and Arecchi are co-captains.

“Reyce and TJ both have been on varsity since their sophomore year and know what the coaches are asking from the players. So far, I think they’ve been doing a good job at being captains and leaders,” Tengan said.

Not everyone begins a career as a head coach during a global pandemic. Tengan has led by example.

“It’s just been great to be on the field with the team. I think 2020 taught us that we can’t take anything for granted and that any day could be the last day on the field. I told the seniors that they have the chance to set the tone for the program this season,” Tengan said. “A couple of months ago, we didn’t even know if there was going to be any baseball season, so we are just thankful to get out there and play some games.”


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