Family, tradition, success.
Those three components are the link between Waialua’s OIA Division II championship team in 2009 and the team that outscored Radford 22-12 on Saturday night to win the title.
Current head coach Rod Dicion was an assistant coach on the ’09 staff. That team went on to reach the state final, losing to Kauai 1-0.
“My brother-in-law (Jay Keao) was the head coach of that team. My daughter, Althia, was on that team. When they came to help me out this year, I felt good,” Dicon said. “They work with these young girls. It’s a good thing and that’s why I always invite my alumni to come back and coach. My daughter came home during their break from Washington. She said, Dad, I want to watch OIAs.
First baseman Anela Hernandez, who had a key two-run double in the sixth inning, watched her sister play on that ‘09 title team.
“My sister, Alyssiah, was actually on that last championship team,” said Hernandez, who added that Alyssiah is an assistant coach now.
The common denominators include a patient, yet opportunistic approach at the plate. The Bulldogs have had their share of dominant hitters over the years, but on Saturday, they drew 21 walks. They were willing to do whatever it took to have their best chance to win the OIA crown.
“These young kids, they believe in our style and they work on it, and they come through,” Dicion said. “They work hard. We had to hit for hit with Radford. That’s a good hitting team. Just gotta be patient and take pitches. I know she struggles with her control.”