Not everyone can have a former major leaguer as a coach, so the Kaiser Cougars are pretty lucky to have Kila Kaaihue as the head man.
Kaaihue started his first OIA baseball regular season in charge as a head coach on Wednesday, where the maxim, “You can’t win ’em all,” came into play.
Kaiser lost to OIA East rival Kailua 2-1, but served notice that it is probably never going to go down without a fight this year. After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Cougars hung in there and fought back before succumbing 2-1.
“He’s a great coach,” Kaiser shortstop Lincoln Lima said. “He works us hard every day. We’re all bonding as a team together and getting ready to play hard.”
Lima was a bright spot as part of an infield that turned three double plays. In addition, he went 2-for-3 at the plate, and he threw a relay strike to cut down Dylan Kurahashi Choy Foo at home to end the bottom of the sixth inning.
Kaaihue, the ‘Iolani graduate who played professional baseball for 13 years and had major league stints with Kansas City and Oakland, loved how his team fought.
“I have nothing but positive things to say about the way the game went,” Kaaihue said. “They threw a really good pitcher (Joey Cantillo). He got out of some jams. We got some guys on. We didn’t touch home plate enough. But overall, I don’t think our boys did anything in a negative way. They come every day to practice. They play hard every time we play. Nothing but good things to say.”
And he’s enjoying his new job.
“Yeah, every day I’m out there and loving it,” he said.
Tyler Dyball pitched a complete-game seven-hitter in the one-run loss. The Cougars had the tying run on third base when Micah Mashima flew out to right to end the game.