HANAPEPE — The best thing about the Kauai Collegiate Baseball Clinic and Showcase was being able to play baseball while being watched by good coaches, said Caleb Martin, a seventh grader from Lawai.
With about seven or eight seasons under his belt, Martin said Saturday’s clinic was the second year he’s attended.
“The coaches taught me how to steal in a good way,” Martin quipped.
He was one of more than 150 students from 7 years old through high school age who registered for the collegiate clinic, featuring at least a dozen Kauai High School alumni currently playing college baseball.
“This is more than last year’s 130 students,” said Kirk Correa, who coordinated the clinic at Hanapepe Stadium. “Hopefully, we’ll have an even bigger crowd for next year’s clinic.”
Students worked through two sessions, the morning for 7 to 14 year olds, and the afternoon session for high school players prefaced with information on how they could use baseball as a way to help pay their way through college.
“It’s good to have good coaches and the college guys help us play better baseball,” said Noah Bermudez, an eighth grade student, of Eleele. “They taught me how to hit and not drop my back.”
Layton Tani, whose son Taran was one of the collegiate players for Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, said having the collegiate players lead the skills clinic served as inspiration for the younger players who can all associate with the former high school players.
“The younger players almost always remember seeing these boys play, and now they’re in college and the younger players can relate to how one day, they too, might be one of those collegiate players,” Layton said.
His son, Taynan, was a clinic participant, noting how he learned how to take leads off the bases and how to hit the ball the proper way.
In addition to presenting the participants with skills on improving, Correa said the clinic was able to contribute $500 to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and because players brought canned goods and non-perishable food items as part of their registration, a contribution was given to the Kauai Independent Food Bank.
“We especially appreciate what you young people do to help the Kauai Independent Food Bank,” Moniz said. “The food you contributed today goes directly toward helping other young people, many of them your age, with their food needs through the Keiki Cafe, the Backpack Program and afternoon snacks.”
Participating players included Trent Allianic of Mesa State, Bronson Aiwohi of Feather River College, Dallas Correa of University of the Pacific, B.J. Freitas of the University of Hawaii-Hilo, Kalen Iwai of UH-Hilo, Keanu Kapana of the Hawaii Pacific University, Kaimana Perreira-Alquiza of Feather River College, Lanaan Rice-Kashima of HPU, Mikeo Rita of Feather River College, Trey Smith of Western Arizona, Travis Stancil of UH-Hilo and Taran Tani of Graceland University.
In addition to the players, collegiate coaches from HPU and the University of Hawaii-Hilo were joined by traveling team coaches and Major League Baseball scouts.