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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, May 26, 2005

Players with Hawai'i ties in summer baseball league

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

A number of familiar names will be sprinkled among rosters of the inaugural season of the Hawai'i Collegiate Baseball League.

The four-team, wooden-bat league runs June 11 to July 23 at Aloha Stadium. The teams are the Waikiki Surfers, O'ahu Paddlers, Hawai'i Aliis and Kamuela Paniolos. The league is similar to other collegiate summer leagues around the nation, such as the Cape Cod League, Northwoods League and Alaska League.

"It's a huge undertaking," league owner Al Kam said. "We feel it's the right thing to do and the right time."

Esteban Lopez is the only University of Hawai'i player who will be in the league. He will play for the Paniolos. His brother, Rigo, will coach the Surfers along with UH assistant Keith Komeiji. Rigo Lopez is an assistant at the University of San Francisco.

Four UH recruits signed for the 2005-06 academic year also will play in the league. Junior college pitchers Tyler Davis (Santa Barbara Community College) and Danny Caldwell (Glendale Community College), and shortstop Jorge Franco (Los Angeles Harbor College) will be transferring to UH next season. Also, incoming freshman Matt Daly, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher from Esperanza High (Anaheim, Calif.) is expected to join the Rainbows. All four will play for the Surfers.

Hawai'i-Hilo will be represented by catcher Matt Haasenritter (Hilo 2004) and outfielders Kahe Santos (Kamehameha 2003) and Caleb DeBautista.

Kamehameha senior left-hander David Parrow, who has signed with USC, will play for the Paniolos and classmate Nick Freitas, an outfielder who has signed with Miami, will play for the Aliis. They, along with Daly, are the only current high school seniors who have committed to play.

Other players with ties to Hawai'i in the league include: Vance Otake (Maui 2003) of Cal State Fullerton; Robert Kurisu (Punahou 2004) of Claremont-McKenna; Jim Strombach (Moanalua 2002) of Sacramento State; Tyler McCready (Iolani 2002), Davin Nakasone (Pearl City 2003) and Chris Mols (Roosevelt 2002) of Pacific; Justin Ariki (Punahou 2004) of Cypress JC; Taylor Watanabe ('Aiea 2003) and Jonathan Sakurai ('Aiea 2003) of Sacramento State; and Tyler Perkins (Kamehameha 2002), who previously played at the University of Portland.

Among the name programs sending players here are USC, Stanford, UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine. Kam said he has commitments from Arizona and Arizona State for next year. He said the big programs will send their "front line" players by next year.

"In three to five years, we hope to be competing (for top-line players) with the Cape (Cod League)," Kam said.

The Hawai'i league will provide an opportunity for college coaches to monitor their players, as well as scout potential recruits. One player hoping to take advantage of the exposure is Perkins, an all-state selection in 2001 and 2002, who played at Portland in 2003, but has been away from the game since.

"Hopefully, I do well in the summer and someone is watching," Perkins said.

The Mainland players will arrive between June 7 and 9; a workout is set for June 10. The season starts the next day. There will be no days off, but rosters are deep enough to give players adequate playing time, Kam said. All four teams will play each day, with nine-inning games starting at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8042.

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