Leo Sing Chow is giving back at her alma mater and that smile on her face is hard to miss.
The 2002 All-State player of the year by both the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Star-Advertiser is coaching Kamehameha’s varsity team for the first time this season and loving it.
After going on to play at UH Hilo, Sing Chow spent the last three seasons coaching Kamehameha’s JV team.
“This is a different level,” said Sing Chow, whose uncle Ty Sing Chow coached her at Kamehameha. “It’s exciting. There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s all about a new program, a new start, getting kids to buy in to thatand just readjusting, changing perspective on things. It’s an honor to be here.”
Sing Chow’s Warriors, ranked No. 7 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10, lost 16-9 to visiting Maryknoll on Wednesday, but they showed some spunk by fighting back from a 14-4 deficit.
As a player, Sing Chow recalls much lower scoring games.
“There wasn’t that many home runs like the way it is now,” she said after watching five leave the park, including three by Kamehameha, in the loss.
“Scores were a lot lower. Now, you never know when the game is going to be over and it happens pretty often. Back then it was one run here and there and now you just never know. We didn’t lift weights when we were in high school and the (pitcher’s circle) distance is now three feet longer. The balls have changed, the bats have changed, everything about the game has changed.”
Sing Chow was impressed with the gumption her team showed in its comeback attempt against the third-ranked Spartans (3-0).
“One thing we told them after the game is that we are proud of their energy,” she said. “They fought all the way through to the end. We struggled with that in the preseason. For them to fight all the way to the last pitch, that’s an improvement and we can only get better from here.”
Colby McClinton, Keila Kamoku and Destiny Lum belted homers for the Warriors, but it wasn’t enough to offset two grand slams by the Spartans, who moved into a tie with ‘Iolani at the top of the ILH standings.
Lum’s two-run smash to center in the second inning finished off am interesting sequence.
With a 1-1 count, she was hit in the knee area by a pitch and started to take off for first base. The umpire called her back to the batter’s box and, according to Lum, told her that she stuck her knee out in an attempt to get hit.
Lum looked ready to smack the next pitch and she did, connecting solidly and driving in the first two Kamehameha runs.
“I turned around (after the request by the umpire) and I was like, ‘Ohhh. I thought it just hit me. It’s Ok. I get another shot at bat. I can hit this ball.'” Lum said. “I just wanted to do it for my team. This whole week our motto has been ‘Team Before I’ and we had to write about the word ‘unselfishly’ and write what that meant to us. Collectively as a team, we just want to put team before ourselves.
“Overall, the whole game we stayed up and the energy level was there. Honestly, it wasn’t our day. This is only the (third, including one forfeit win) game of the season. We still have more time to grow as a team and reach our goals.”
At 2-1, the Warriors are a game behind the Raiders and Spartans in the standings. They host No. 8 ‘Iolani on Saturday.