Taven Hathaway loves pitching.
That’s why, in the midst of the pandemic, he and his family built a mound in their back yard.
“We made three trips out to Waianae to get filtered dirt to build it,” said Hathaway’s father, Steve. “We used clay and cement mix with the dirt.”
One step further, they converted their garage into a mini weight room.
The process of gaining more strength also included cardio work. The offseason regimen led to a scholarship offer from Oklahoma Christian, a Division II powerhouse. Hathaway signed with the school last week. The campus is in Edmond, Okl.
“I visited in November, a week before Thanksgiving. It’s a beautiful campus,” the Moanalua senior said. “It was very inviting. All the coaches are nice and they have a lot of knowledge. Coach Lonny Cobble, he’s had a few first-round picks play for him before. There’s a lot of things I can learn from him so I’m looking forward to playing in their program.”
Oklahoma Christian has played in the Lone Star conference since 2019.
“I know four of the Top 25 teams are in their conference. The coaches loved how I’m a bulldog on the mound and like to attack people. They thought I’d be a great addition to their pitching staff to try and win a championship,” Hathaway said.
Steve Hathaway is an elementary school teacher. Tara Hathaway is a school principal. Steve is also the varsity coach at Roosevelt High School.
“We are going to miss him and plan on talking to him every day, just like I did with my dad when I left to move to Hawaii,” coach Hathaway said. “I am so proud of the man he has become and I believe he is just scratching the surface of the success he will have in life.”
“Although it’s going to be difficult to send Taven 4,000 miles away, I am so proud of the man he is becoming. I know he will represent himself, his family, Moanalua and Hawaii with pride,” Tara Hathaway said. “I look forward to seeing the man that he will become under the guidance of amazing coaches and professors at Oklahoma Christian University. I will be missing him, but know he will have amazing accomplishments.”
Taven Hathaway’s offseason play included a no-hitter in a mainland tournament. More than that, he has an added confidence.
“I’m trying to drop five more pounds, stay muscular and stay loose. It helped when I dropped 15 pounds in the last year. That’s when my fastball started jumping up a little bit. The weight loss definitely helped on the mound. I felt faster and more fluid with my motion,” said Hathaway, now 6 feet, 1 inch and 220 pounds.
That fastball was clocked at 88-90 mph at the Arizona Fall Classic last October.
“I feel stronger since then,” said Hathaway, who throws a curve, slider and change-up.
Moanalua coach Pete Arakawa first saw Hathaway throw as a sophomore.
“I thought he was a big, physical kid that had some velocity behind his fastball. This offseason, he has put in the work to improve his arm and his mental approach,” Arakawa said. “He will be an impact player this upcoming season with a couple different roles to figure out.”
Arakawa sees a lot of potential for Hathaway.
“I project he will have a bright future ahead in Oklahoma and a possible long baseball career,” he said.
Arakawa is also Hathaway’s teacher in weight training class. Hathaway reps 225 pounds on the bench press six times. His favorite is the dead lift.
“I did 510 pounds three or four weeks ago. All lower body lifts help you push off the ground, exploding down,” he said.
Longtime coach Scott Yamada stepped down, Hathaway said.
“Coach Scott retired and I had a blast playing for him and learning,” he said. “Maintaining the field and the stuff that matters.”
Taven Hathaway’s lockdown staples
Top 3 movies/shows
1. “The Flash” (series, CW network)
2. “Night Rider” (Netflix)
3. “The Empire Strikes Back”
“I’m well into the double digits. Twelve or 15. I like Star Wars way too much.”
Top 3 food/snack/drink
1. Chicken fried steak
“This place called Texaz Grill in Arizona. They do huge portions. Every time we go on a trip to Arizona, it would be our last meal before we go home. My dad would get the catfish.”
2. BBQ ribs
“My dad makes them. He works hard on them, spends all day on them and they’re perfect by the time we eat them. He does it dry in his smoker. I’m not allowed near his smoker. Nobody’s allowed near his smoker when he’s making stuff. He had practice one time and asked us to spray it every hour with apple juice. It was very dry and the worst. We sprayed too much and it dried out. We ruined his ribs. Of course, we still ate them. They were just a little more dry than normal.”
3. Chicken wings
“From anywhere. I usually get the hottest one, and also barbecue and a garlic parmesan.”
Top 3 music artists
2. 50 Cent
3. Queen – “Flash Gordon”
“I’d make that my walk-up song if I could.”
Chicago Cubs. “I got that from my dad, who loves the Cubs.”
Green Bay Packers
Favorite class and teacher: Weightlifting, coach Pete (Arakawa)
“I do the machines, all the leg machines. I do the workouts that our baseball coach Pete (Arakawa).”
“Either Nate (Alvaro) or Tyler (Tonokawa) just because they talk the most, they communicate the most. They’ll joke about everything, but they’re serious when it matters most. They’ll have fun at practice, but when it’s game time those two are pretty much ready.”
“I’d say, baseball knowledge, probably also Nate.”
Teammate most likely to coach one day
“Z (Miyashiro). He’s one of our pitchers, but he’s always out there learning everything he can, getting his reps and always talking and learning, always helping our pitchers out. He’s always in the bullpen when somebody’s pitching that day.”
New life skill
“During the pandemic, I had a new drive for getting better, for actually working on everything and trying to be the best I could. That’s when I really had a chance to focus on baseball. We built a weight room in the garage and batting cage in the back yard. I tried getting in the weight room as much as possible.”
“I know I want to visit Lambeau Field during the winter. That would be the most Green Bay experience, a mid-winter game. I would want to see a World Series and a Super Bowl.”
“I’m left-handed when I shoot a basketball and bowling. Not that I’m good at them. My high score in bowling is 125. I did teach myself to throw a football left-handed. You go through a shutdown period as a pitcher so one day I tried throwing a football left-handed. I was up to 20 yards after a month.”
“I would got back to maybe right when I was coming into ninth grade. I’d tell myself you know you love the sport. You’ve got to start grinding and work your butt off. Hopefully, he says, ‘Yeah, let’s get to work.’ Then you could do ‘Back to the Future 2’ and tell myself don’t get your hopes up about the Packers.”
“My dad, mom, my brother (Trystan), my whole family. All my brothers on the baseball team and all my coaches. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t still be playing baseball, so I’m thankful for them.”