Kauai’s Blonde Squad Takes Title
They like to sing, shave their heads and dye their hair blond. If you were to guess what group likes to do this, rockstars would not be a far-fetched guess. But you would be wrong, because I’m really describing the Kauai High School baseball team.
On a wet and muddy field at Les Murakami Stadium, the second-seeded Red Raiders, donning freshly-cut, blonde hair, dominated top-seeded Pac-Five 11-2 to capture the Wally Yonamine Foundation Division II State Championship.
“It’s hard to describe this feeling,” senior pitcher and captain great way to end the season, all the hard work has paid off and we got to our final goal.”
It was the team’s second D-2 state title. Back in ’08, the seniors of this year’s squad were just freshman, who got their first taste of a state championship.
“I didn’t play much in 2008,” Shimabukuro said. “I was much more a part of this one.”
During their freshman season, a tradition began, where one of the upper-classmen cut his hair and dyed it blonde.
“Once one guy does it, everyone does it,”
Shimabukuro said. “It’s kind of a bonding thing for us. Everyone came over to my house this year, we shaved our heads or cut it short and then dyed our hair blonde.”
So with the team already looking like rockstars, they decided to take it to the next level by testing their vocal chords.
“We like to have fun before games,”
Shimabukuro said. “So we would sing music and then everyone would join in and others would just make up any kind of beat. It was just a great way for us to loosen up.”
That’s not the traditional way of winning championships, but it certainly worked for this group of talented young men. On their way to the title, they mowed down Kalaheo 11-1 and slipped past Waipahu 3-2. Shimabukuro clinched the title by getting the win on the mound against Pac-Five. The Creighton University freshman-tobe was also named the tournament MVP.
Other Red Raiders on the all-tourney team included Travis Koga (1B), Erin Doi (3B), Kellen Aquino (OF), Austin Oshiro (C), and Jensen Koga (P).
“I think everyone on our team got along,” Shimabukuro said. “We were close and had fun with each other. We’d have fun, but we knew when it was time to get serious. We just grinded every day.”
The Red Raiders (12-4-1) continued the success of KIF teams in the D-2 ranks. Since D-2’s inception in 2008, a Garden Isle team has won three of the four crowns. Waimea took the title last season, while Kaua’i won the inaugural championship in ’08.
While the Red Raider baseball team topped its sport, other Garden Isle athletes captured state titles as well.
During the same weekend at the Island Movers State Track and Field Championships on Maui, Island School’s Pierce Murphy ran away with two gold medals and set two new meet records in the process. The senior took the top spot in the 1,500 meters (4:01.92) and the 3,000 meters (8:52.44).
Also, Kauai High’s Darren Acoba nabbed a gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles (14.85).
Meantime, Kapaa senior Chas Okamoto won the Carlsmith Ball Boys State Tennis Singles title on Maui.
All in all, it was a pretty good weekend for Kauai’s prepsters, topped off by blonde singers who can also play some baseball.