HAWAII GROWN: William Jessup cashes in on Hawaii

William Jessup catcher Cal Koga, who played his first two seasons in college at San Jose State, is fourth on the Warriors with a .350 batting average. Photo courtesy William Jessup athletics.

After winning just 10 games without a single player from Hawaii on its roster last season, William Jessup decided to recruit the islands hard.

The NAIA baseball program based in California added six players with Hawaii ties to its roster this season and was rewarded with its first-ever Golden State Athletic Conference regular-season championship.

The Warriors completed a series sweep of Arizona Christian on Saturday to clinch the title with their 34th win overall.

“I can’t put into words how proud I am of everyone in our organization,” head coach Jake McKinley said in a press release. “It’s family. This was earned through hard work and a selfless approach.”

Reliever Tyler Fujimoto, a 2015 Moanalua alumnus who played at Pierce College last season, struck out all four batters he faced to earn the win and improve to 8-1 for the season in a 9-8 victory over the Firestorm in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Catcher Cal Koga, a 2015 Kauai High alumnus who played his first two seasons at San Jose State, drove in a run in each game of the doubleheader and infielder Kawai Takemura, a freshman from Kamehameha, scored twice.

Williams Jessup is 26-7 in conference play and ranked No. 8 in the NAIA.

Koga, who has started 37 games, is fourth on the team hitting .350 with seven doubles, eight homers and 37 RBIs.

Takemura has started 34 games in his first season and is hitting .325 with six doubles, three homers and 27 runs scored. He’s also second on the team with eight stolen bases.

Backup catcher Noah Shackles, a 5-foot-10 junior from Mid-Pacific who transferred from Alvin Community College, is hitting .293 in 43 games with 37 starts. Shackles is second on the team with 12 doubles and has scored 23 runs.

Ashkhon Kuhaulua, a 28-year-old right-hander who played at Menlo College last season and graduated from Kamehameha in 2007, has started eight games and gone the distance twice, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.44 ERA in 52 1/3 innings. Kuhaulua has struck out 64 and walked 19.

Fujimoto, who has a 2.41 ERA, has struck out 43 in 38 2/3 innings.

Reliever Grant Doi (Mid-Pacific ’15) has made eight appearances.

The Warriors finish the regular season with three games at Menlo College this weekend before the conference tournament.


  1. Opinion April 17, 2018 8:49 pm

    Mr. Hull

    Early in the article you have Jessup as an NAIA Program. Few lines later you got them ranked as the #8 team in DIII. Are they NAIA or DIII?

  2. Billy Hull April 17, 2018 9:20 pm

    NAIA. My fault.

  3. Opinion April 17, 2018 10:27 pm

    Mr. Hull
    Got it Thx. NAIA also has divisions, Jessup plays in D1. They got a nice squad.

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