Jaeda Cabunoc’s toughness makes No. 3 Roosevelt a contender

The Roosevelt Rough Riders are an OIA and state title contender with pitcher Jaeda Cabunoc, who is gritting out the season despite some issues with her back. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

The pain shot through Jaeda Cabunoc’s back, one pitch at a time.

On a sunny, windy, dusty afternoon at Kaiser’s softball field, the Roosevelt ace did what she could to focus on the task at hand. She delivered again, leading No. 3 Roosevelt to a 3-2 comeback win over Kaiser. The Rough Riders are 11-0 in the OIA East with one game left before the playoffs.

Since the start of the season, the senior right-hander has dealt with increased pain in her lower back.


“I’ve always had it, but it’s getting worse this season,” Cabunoc said.

The threshold is mighty. When she walks, the pain is at level 5. Running, she added, is an 8 or 9. When she winds up and pitches, the pain increases after the delivery as she comes to a stop. That’s a 10. Cabunoc was in tears after the game. It is a circumstance she is willing to accept for the Rough Riders, who have the talent and grit to make a title run.

She hasn’t had her pain diagnosed by a doctor.

“I don’t want to know,” she said.


Cabunoc gets it treated old-school style with massage, and moves on to the next day. Her drive and quiet resilience have an effect on her teammates. When standout shortstop Maya Nakamura left the game in the first inning after taking a bad-hop grounder to the forehead, sophomore Fayth Kawamura was next woman up.

“She was getting reps at shortstop before, but with Maya there, she gets all her reps now at left field,” Cabunoc said.

In effect, her teammates had faith in Kawamura. She played error-free ball while Kaiser self-destructed with two errors by its own shortstop that led to three unearned Roosevelt runs. The little things matter.

“Her stepping up showed she is capable,” Cabunoc said. “She was so nervous. She was doubting herself, but we told her to knock everything down. We got her back.”


Now if only someone could do something about Cabunoc’s back. After this year, she plans to play at Chaminade and major in Forensic Studies. For now, it is a day-by-day approach.

At Kaiser
Roosevelt (11-0) 001 002 0 — 3 5 0
Kaiser (7-4) 101 000 0 — 2 4 2
Jaeda Cabunoc and Kanilehua Pitoy. Primrose Aholelei and Precious Aholelei. W—Cabunoc. L—Pri. Aholelei.
Leading hitters—Roosevelt: Kylie Kawamura 1-3, RBI; Jadalee Takara 1-2, run, BB, sac. Kaiser: Pre. Aholelei 2-3, 2 runs, 3B; Jaymi Gurr 2-2, 2 RBIs, SF;

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