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Players end one season, look forward to another

Little League teams wrap up 8-game slate; PONY registration open

The Braves’ Makane Honokaupu slides into third with a stolen base as Phillies third baseman Kahiau Teruya fields the throw during the second inning of a Little League Seniors (15-16) game Monday at the Maui High School field. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

One youth baseball season finished its low-key run Monday afternoon at Maui High School field, successfully surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came with it.

Now, another league is registering players with hopes of mirroring the run of its predecessor.

The final score of the last game of the Hawaii State Little League District III Seniors (15-16) season was Braves 7, Phillies 6, but that is hardly what mattered most to the players, coaches and small crowd gathered.

“It was fun because we got to not just stay inside the house, we got to play,” said Kelton Tom, a junior at Kamehameha Schools Maui who played first base and smacked a two-run double for the Phillies. “It will prepare us for the varsity season when that hopefully can come around.”

Tom is one of several players from Monday’s game who plan to sign up for the Maui PONY’s Colt (15-16) and Palomino (17-18) seasons that have been green-lighted by Maui County Parks and Recreation.

Wehiwa Aloy pitches for the Braves in the second inning.

The 16-year-old Tom plans to play at both levels. The Colt season is currently underway with two teams and hopes to add at least one more team soon. The Palomino season will offer the first game action for the oldest level of youth baseball in Maui County since last summer due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

Braves coach Jamie Aloy, the former Baldwin High School state champion and University of Hawaii standout, is helping spearhead the Palomino and Colt registration. He has contacted all of the Maui Interscholastic League coaches and anyone interested in playing can email Aloy at mauibroncoleague@gmail.

com to receive the registration forms.

“It feels real good, we feel like we accomplished something,” Aloy said of the Little League season. “You know, eight games is something, it’s better than none. It’s taking some of the kids eight games to actually get loose, so the plan from here is to basically get another season in this winter and fall and get the 17- and 18-year-olds out and playing.”

Jaime Perez, who umpired at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in 2019, was the single official on the field Monday, calling balls and strikes from behind the mound while hustling to make every other call on the field.

The Phillies’ Kelton Tom watches his two-run double as he leaves the batter’s box in the second inning.

“The games have been fantastic, the kids are playing well,” he said. “The challenges are doing mostly one-man or new mechanics out here even when we’re using a two-umpire system. Been creating our rotations to make sure everything is covered.

“I want to thank all the umpires that have come out: Larry Anderson, Paul Silva, Ron Steben and myself.”

Phillies coach Scott Teruya said that with nearly all schools in the county — public and private — currently holding classes online, the eight-game season that his team was able to finish Monday was important for the players.

“Absolutely, I mean anytime you can get the kids out here, the more reps that our kids can get, the more benefit to them,” Teruya said. “Look at Honolulu with the shutdown, those kids are not getting anything done, so coming out here, getting more reps, seeing their friends, it’s always going to be beneficial. There’s no doubt.”

Teruya’s son, Kahiau Teruya, is a junior at Maui High who played third base on Monday for the Phillies.

Phillies catcher McKay Pali hauls a tough wind-blown pop foul in the first inning.

“I had a lot of fun, it was awesome to come out during the pandemic,” Kahiau Teruya said. “I guess it helped a lot (mentally) because you get to see the friends.”

Braves left fielder Kamaunu Vehikite-Kahaialii, a senior at Baldwin, said that he was confident the season would be played to completion.

“I haven’t heard of that much cases,” he said. “It was very important for us to be out here because if we have a season we’ll be ready.”

Braves first baseman Levi Maddela is a Baldwin sophomore.

“It’s fun and we get to get on our feet,” he said. “I thought we weren’t going to be able to (finish the season) because COVID-19 is bad. It’s good because we can get our body working and work on our baseball out here.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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