Kalihi kids ‘Go Nuts’ during barnstorming tour in Northwest

Go Nuts, a baseball club team from Kalihi, is in the final stage of a barnstorming tour of the Northwest. Photo courtesy of Al Carganilla.

Somewhere tucked between the pastures and lakes of Oregon and Washington, a baseball club from the islands is going nuts.

The Go Nuts squad, comprised of players from Farrington, Kamehameha and other schools, has made the best of a precarious time by traveling to the Northwest. A tournament scheduled this weekend in Portland, Ore., was cancelled, but head coach Al Carganilla made several phone calls and patched together a barnstorming tour of a lifetime.

“You hear about the bad things, but every place is safe. You can’t go anywhere without a mask,” Carganilla said. “Great baseball and we’re visiting schools. Awesome time.”

Among the highlights Go Nuts captured on video is a two-run smash by Kamehameha’s Jameson Hussey off a JC pitcher. Another is Kai Keamo’s diving catch in left-center.

Go Nuts is 2-2 so far on this trip, with a 5-1 win over TC Saints and an 8-2 victory over Mound Time. They also lost 5-4 against Portland Baseball Club.

Go Nuts landed on the continent on Monday. Getting good prices on airfare was a big factor. Carganilla, his staff and players’ parents seized the opportunity when prices dropped during the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We paid around $380 round trip,” said Carganilla, who coached at Farrington for many years and is now the school principal. “It was so cheap, we had some parents from our previous Go Nuts donate to help.”

Carganilla is assisted by Farrington head coach Eric Tokunaga, Ross Hayashi and Owen Omiat.

The team checked into a Residence Inn, taking full advantage of discounted rates thanks to a parent and an assistant coach who work for Marriott. By Wednesday, Go Nuts was on the road to begin a wondrous week.

Because Portland is in Phase 1 mode and Seattle is in Phase II, Go Nuts met up with opposing teams in rural areas that are in the least restrictive Phase 3. Carganilla described Phase 1 as an absolute no-go for games and scrimmages. Phase 2 restricts teams to a maximum of five players on the field.

“We’re driving through wine country and farm lands, and it opens up to a lake,” Carganilla said.

Finding available Phase-3 facilities could have been an issue, but it was smooth sailing.

“Everyone here so connected, so it takes just one call,” Carganilla said.

Most of the teams Go Nuts has played are at the 19-under level, which means they have college and junior-college athletes.

“We had control of one game, but they had a guy who hit two home runs,” Carganilla said of the power hitter, who will be a freshman at Oregon this fall. “For us, it’s all Kalihi kids.”

Seven of the Go Nuts played in the Cal Ripken World Series national championship game in Maryland, 2015. They were in the 12U division then.

In ’18, they made it to the Babe Ruth national title game in Texas, losing to New Jersey, 7-6.

This summer’s roster included six starters from the ’18 squad. Seven players didn’t make the trip because of coronavirus concerns, so Go Nuts traveled with just 10 players.

“The boys just wanted to get out. Our intention was to visit schools. Jcs, Division III, Division I,” Carganilla said.

One of the stops was at Oregon, where Go Nuts saw the Marcus Mariota facility.

“We’re wearing masks, disinfecting hands. It’s just a blessing to get out of Hawaii,” Carganilla said.

After they play two more games on Sunday, the team will head home. The players will have mandatory 14-day quarantines that will end before their classes begin. Most are seniors, which means they start the school year a little later, Carganilla noted.

Portland’s inner city has been a hotbed for protests and law enforcement this week. Go Nuts has stayed far away from the heat.

“We see it on the news every day, but we are safe at the river bank,” Carganilla said. “No federal buildings nearby.”

Parents and coaches will quarantine upon return, also, though those in essential jobs can get an exemption with a negative COVID-19 test.


  1. Rebel July 19, 2020 12:37 pm

    Baseball more important than health

  2. Unreal July 19, 2020 7:53 pm

    Amazing…we have a principal and coaches from an OIA school participating in travel and baseball. Shouldn’t they be held to same standard as everyone else? With HHSAA pushing back the start of the fall season, it’s my understanding that it’s an automatic fire if coaches are interacting with their athletes. Do it during the regular season…not during a pandemic.

    Obviously the health/safety of student athletes is not a concern to the Farrington principal. Is this the type of leadership that schools need at this time? What message is he sending to the faculty and staff at Farrington?

  3. A.D. Ibarra July 20, 2020 5:23 am

    We had these kids in Eagle Pass, Texas about four years ago and not only are they a quality baseball team, they are a pleasure to have met. Quality individuals along with their coaching staff and parents. It takes a village to raise a child and they’re doing a good job over there. Go Nuts!

  4. GN4L July 20, 2020 10:13 pm

    @unreal-if your kid doesn’t go to Farrington then shaddap! Al has done a lot for the School and definitely for the youth. Obviously you don’t have a student athlete child or you would understand that the kids want to play and miss the game. Coach Al didn’t kidnap these kids, their parents gave him their approval! Most of these kids are incoming seniors and are still looking to play ball at the next level. While the state was opening up restaurants, retail stores, etc.., they kept the parks closed! That makes absolutely no sense! You can catch Covid at Kapalono Park but we’re magically immuned at Ross? Give me a break. The Nuts are a class act and I’m positive that everyone that either coached with him, across from him or played for him will vouch and know that they are taking every precaution so the kids can play a game they love and that they’ve been playing their entire life.

  5. ILoveHawaii July 21, 2020 11:11 am


    “On Tuesday morning, Chun noted that workouts for student-athletes away from campus with independent groups are technically not banned by the HHSAA. The issue surfaces when team coaches are in contact with players from the same school”.


  6. Hmmm? July 21, 2020 2:38 pm

    Isn’t Tokunaga the Farrington Baseball Coach???

  7. Homer Simpson July 21, 2020 4:48 pm

    @GN4L-it has nothing to do with the student athletes…obviously they’re all missing the game. It has to do with the leadership from the top down in regards to bending the rules. Coaches are not allowed contact (it was stated in the article that Tokunaga was on the staff). My point is that the administration allowed this to happen and that shouldn’t be okay. Again, nothing against the players or their families.

  8. coconut wireless July 22, 2020 9:14 am

    I hope they no bring the virus back here. The Coaching Staff & Parents are in that vulnerable Risk age group,

  9. Admiral Radford July 23, 2020 3:50 pm

    Hahaha. And you folks want sports in high schools. At least ACT like you follow social distancing. ALL schools are putting their future on children who will not social distance. To all the parents who cite losing out on memories, what if that memory is of them infecting your kupuna and the kupuna becoming gravely ill or dying. Good luck to everyone.

  10. HAL July 23, 2020 10:22 pm

    I agree with GN4L. Plus, Unreal and Homer, do you guys check the dates?

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