Mid-Pacific pitcher Alex Oley was carrying a box away from the field after he pitched a one-hitter in a 2-0 win over Saint Louis on Saturday at Central Oahu Regional Park.
In the box was a daruma, a hollow, round Japanese doll made by assistant coach Scott Muramoto. Darumas are normally used to symbolize perseverance and good luck, according to Wikipedia.
Oley said it’s his job this week to carry the daruma from Mid-Pacific to the games and back.
“It helps us through tough times,” he said. “It’s one of those things you can’t explain. It’s there for us and guides us.”
Chances are Muramoto, head coach Dunn Muramaru, Jacob Maekawa, Jared Fujiwara, Chase Wago, Jacob Yoshino, Trevin Tengan, Zach Gushiken or Breyndon Nakamura — all of whom saw action in the game — can explain it a little better than Oley, for obvious reasons.
But Oley, however, was the one carrying it and charge of its safe return Saturday.
Hanging from the box holding the daruma is a bag filled with poker chips, one from each member of the team, Oley said. The team fills the bag before games and empties it after games, when the chips are kept in the lockers.
“That is to signify that we’re all-in,” Oley said.
Being all-in has never been much of a problem for Mid-Pacific baseball players under Muramaru, but it can’t hurt to symbolize it.
The Owls (7-3) — Division I state runners-up a year ago — are locked in a battle for first place with three other Interscholastic League of Honolulu teams — Kamehameha (7-3), Saint Louis (6-3) and Punahou (5-4).