At 5 feet, 10 inches, Tate Shimao looks tall for a freshman, but look for his state baseball profile to get even bigger in the next three years.
Shimao, batting ninth and playing left field for No. 5 ‘Iolani on Tuesday, drove in three runs in a 17-5, six-inning, mercy-rule clubbing of No. 4 Saint Louis.
But it was what coach Kurt Miyahira said to the media afterward that signaled the bright future of Shimao.
“He’s only a freshman and he’s going to be a special player when his time comes,” Miyahira said. “He’s gotta continue to work and get after it and do what he’s gotta do.”
“When his time comes” is the key phrase. It was senior day at the Raiders’ ballpark Tuesday. Shimao, normally a shortstop, is not in a leading role yet.
Shimao gave a nod to those seniors, and he also mentioned that three years ago when he was an ‘Ioani sixth-grader, he was coached a bit by an ‘Iolani senior.
That senior back then, Everett Lau, is now playing for the Auburn Tigers of the Southeastern Conference after a two-year stop at a JC.
What goes around comes around and so it’s not surprising that Shimao wants to play in college some day. He’s got a long time left to make his mark in the high school ranks and he has already played summer ball with the Trosky national team.
Shimao was happy to have contributed to Tuesday’s win that broke a three-game losing streak, and he was just as glad for the heavy-duty performance by the ‘Iolani seniors.
“It’s good to finally bounce back,” said Shimao, who was a freshman quarterback on the ‘Iolani football roster last fall. “It’s good for the seniors. They’re soaking it up. It (the win) was mostly just for them.
“I just try to have fun and play my hardest and whatever happens, happens. But a lot of hard work goes into it. My parents help me out a lot to be the best player I can be.”
In spot duty for the Raiders’ football team, Shimao went 8-for-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown pass in six games.
Here’s a rundown of what some of ‘Iolani’s seniors did Tuesday in their final home game:
>> Micah Yonamine: 3-for-4, double, triple, three RBIs, and his triple missed going over the fence by about a foot for what would have been his ninth home run of the season.
>> Shaydon Kubo: 2-for-4, RBI, one inning of scoreless, one-hit relief.
>> Shane Sasaki: three runs scored, three RBIs, home run.
>> Micah Miyahira: three runs scored, RBI.
>> Aaron Ujimori: Winning pitcher, five strikeouts, RBI.
>> Jacob Hinderleider: 3-for-3, double, two RBIs.
>> Blake Hiraki: Double, sacrifice fly, two RBIs.
“Micah (Yonamine),” Shimao said. “He always hits tanks.”
The Raiders (9-3) play Kamehameha on Thursday at Hans L’Orange Park. Also on Thursday, Saint Louis (10-3), which had won eight in a row, visits Mid-Pacific.
“Another day, another opportunity for us to come and compete and that’s all we can do,” coach Miyahira said after Tuesday’s win. “We’ve got Kamehameha on Thursday, and like Saint Louis, they’re a good club. We’ve gotta come and bring it. Nobody is going to roll over in this league for anybody. They (the players) need to concentrate and do what they can and make it about each other.”
Tuesday’s game nearly ended 13-3 after four and a half innings, but Saint Louis’ Mathew Saelua hit a two-out RBI double in the top of the fifth to trim the deficit to nine runs. Saelua also hit a two-run homer in the fourth.