One swing, one smack and Kennedy Hara rounded the bases in Peoria, Ariz.
The Mid-Pacific infielder-pitcher had his moments of fun in the desert at the Arizona Junior Fall Classic over the weekend. None were as thrilling as his mighty swat over the left-field fence 330 feet away.
“The fence was about 20, 30 feet tall. It was a fastball, middle in,” Hara said on Tuesday.
Mid-Pacific coach Dunn Muramaru saw the social-media video of Hara’s tater.
“He’s gotten bigger, way bigger. I’m looking forward to him (at MPI). He’s worked really hard,” said Muramaru, who is optimistic about this year’s juniors. “I haven’t seen him or any of them for about six months. I’m looking forward to it.”
Hara suited up for TB SoCal and played third base, shortstop, second base, first base and pitched one scoreless inning. He returned to Oahu on Monday.
“I also played with them last summer. I really enjoyed with playing the California teammates. They have really different personalities from the Hawaii guys. The cultural difference. I was talking to one of them and how we call everyone auntie and uncle here, and they call everyone mister and missus,” Hara said.
— Kennedy Hara (@KennedyHara2022) October 5, 2020
Thank you @ClassicHawaii and @FiveToolHI for a great tournament showcase! It was great playing with and against the best players in the state. Here are some of my film from the Hawaii Sandlot Classic 2020 and the Arizona Junior Fall Classic 2019. pic.twitter.com/lQUtfG2Zmp
— Kennedy Hara (@KennedyHara2022) August 23, 2020
So far, Hara has an offer from HPU.
“It is a really good offer,” he said.
Hara, who has a 3.465 grade-point average, is also considering a school on the East Coast.
“I’ve been talking to a Bucknell University coach. I actually played in the US NTIS (USA Baseball National Team Identification Series) tournament with him (Chris O’Neill) and he was very welcoming. He said he’s going to stay in contact,” Hara said. “I’m definitely willing to play on the East Coast for Division I baseball.”
Muramaru is counting on Hara at multiple positions.
“He’s very poised. That’s probably more important than anything else. He competes, so as a junior here, he’ll have a little bit more responsibility. Pitch, play shortstop. We don’t have that many arms,” he said.
Hara and older brother, Jordan, who plays for Pacific (Ore.), have been working through the pandemic at their home gym. That’s where Hara, at 187 pounds on a 5-foot-9 frame, packs on the power.
“It was my idea, originally, but my brother put in the work. We have a full rack and a full set of weights. Squats, bench, dead lift,” Hara said.
The gym was a project that the brothers took on with a zeal, and it extended to another home project.
“Building, woodwork, it’s mostly like baseball and weight training stuff that I helped my brother build. We actually built a pitching mound recently. It’s portable and has wheels. We bought wood and that’s what I throw off of,” Hara said.
The “mound” is a work of marvel. Ninety-nine percent brainpower. One percent magic.
“I created the blueprint and he made a few tweaks here and there,” Hara said.
Jordan Hara is majoring in biology at HPU. Kennedy Hara plans to major in business.
On the diamond, Hara credits his big brother for his development.
“He’s been kind of like my workout buddy and he’s been developing me as a baseball player, and also in the weight room,” he said.
The workload day by day is something he relishes at the batting cage.
“I built a really strong routine over the quarantine. I start with dingers, a belt that we use to stay back when we’re hitting, engage more. Something that Coach Dunn (Muramaru) preaches a lot. Also, no-stride (swings),” Hara said.
“Then I’ll move on to tees and do one-armed swings. I do both (arms). I usually do 10 top-hand and 10 bottom-hand (swings). Ten weighted bats and 10 with a 27-inch softball bat, and 10 with a regular bat,” he said. “Then I’ll do a short round of (10) regular swings on the tee. At home, we have a small cage, so we’ll do front toss with the different bats, hitting piles (weighted balls). There are different weights from heavy to light. Maybe 50 front-toss swings.”
That adds up to hundreds of cuts in Halawa.
“We’ll go until the sun goes down,” he said.
There are no plans for travel the rest of the year for Hara. He is hoping there will be a baseball season in the spring. The Owls’ season was cut short when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a statewide lockdown last season.
“I think if we keep working hard, we have a bright future. We have a lot of good guys physically and one of the most mentally tough teams in the state,” Hara said.
He’s hoping to get back to the Owls’ home facility.
“Coach Dunn has told us that the field is much better. It was already nice, so for him to say that, I’m excited,” Hara said.
Top 3 movies/shows
2. Avengers Endgame.
3. Any Captain America movie.
Top 3 food/snack/drink
1. Watermelon. “I usually trust my dad on this one. He chooses some really good watermelon.”
3. Salmon. “Just salmon in general. We buy the wild ones.”
Top 3 music artists
1. Juice WRLD.
Hara: “My primary wood bat is my Baum bat, it’s a 33/30. I would say it’s just hit a month. It’s new. Their company says it’s an unbreakable bat. There’s a two-year warranty. It’s wood composite. It’s allowed in wood tournaments. Some minor leagues and independent leagues allow you to use Baum bats.
“I swing a The Goods (BBCOR) by DeMarini. 33/30. It’s black and gold. Three months old. I’d say it has maybe two or three more years. My bats are hanging up in the garage right now. Got to keep them safe. I carry a bat bag around.
“My backup wood bat is a Rawlings Blem. It’s a blemish bat, so the bats that get rejected that are really cheap. They have some kind of defect. I don’t know, but it looks pretty good. Sometimes they put the label on and the grain is on the wrong side, it’s not worth (as much). It comes in a bat pack. We usually buy those.”
Hara: “I use a Wilson A2000. It’s brown. Third basemen usually have a bigger glove, but I use the same one for (all positions). There’s a cost, too, to buy another glove.”
Hara: “I use Nike (Alpha) Huaraches. Same cleats in the infield. It’s the only cleats I have.”
— Kennedy Hara (@KennedyHara2022) August 26, 2020