One of the most informative, even slightly entertaining, moments on Wednesday afternoon at Stevenson Middle School baseball field came not during a great battle between the Waianae Seariders and Roosevelt Rough Riders, but after.
Moments after Roosevelt pitcher Hiram Kaikaina hurled a complete-game 6-5 win over the hardy Seariders, he and his teammates went about the usual post-game routine, tending to the diamond. Freshman second baseman Rylan Terakawa had himself, perhaps, the game of his life. He went 1-for-2 with a walk, scoring two huge runs, including the go-ahead score in the bottom of the sixth inning.
In his exuberance, Terakawa was supremely confident about the future of the Rough Riders, who face the West’s top team, Pearl City, this afternoon. Coach A.D. Mols overheard the enthusiasm of his rookie infielder and asked him to temper it.
But Kaikaina also heard his teammate’s expressions and was quick to assert some perspective.
“Humble,” the 6-foot-2 junior said firmly, but softly to Terakawa. “Be humble.”
And with that, a 14-year-old who had been on the JV team just two months ago got the message.
“Whether we play at home or away, it doesn’t matter,” Terakawa said. “We have a chance to go to the state tournament.”
For Kaikaina, who dealt a sharp curve ball on opponents all season, it’s a matter of now being an observer rather than a hurler. He threw 110 pitches over his seven innings on Wednesday and never seemed to strain despite the avalanche of filthy breaking balls. Waianae struck out nine times and Kaikaina walked just one. He still will step in the box to hit, but Roosevelt’s path to a state-tourney berth — a win against Pearl City or a loss to the Chargers followed by a win on Friday in consolation play — will be largely determined by other pitchers and a solid defense.
Mols mentioned a string of three walk-off games during the regular season.
“Win, loss, win. We’ve been in tight games,” he said.
“Against Kailua,” Kaikaina added, “we couldn’t hit, but we put up a fight.”
The Rough Riders (7-5) will need hits and then some against Pearl City, ranked No. 2 in the Star-Advertiser Baseball Top 10. Kaikaina, who bats fifth in the lineup, was 1-for-3 with an RBI against Waianae. It’s the unmeasurable value of leadership, though, that makes him one of Mols’ many valuable student-athletes.