LAHAINA - The dreams of youngsters all across the nation and around the world begin to morph into reality as the Little League Baseball World Series throws out the first pitches of the iconic youth championships throughout the coming weeks.
The top 11- and 12-year-old players from Maine to Maui, from Canada to Croatia, from Japan to Jakarta, and including all points in between will grace their home fields with high hopes in the competition to qualify for a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to play in the series this August.
Here on the West Side, the West Maui Little League 11- and 12-year-olds selected from the Majors Division began preparation for the local tournament this week after concluding regular season play three weeks ago.
Earlier this month, the WMLL age 9-10 Minors All-Stars competed in the District III Tournament held at Dorvin Leis Field in Kihei. Pictured, from left, are: bottom row — Noah Alexander, Will Casco, Kealaula Medeiros, Keanu Kaina, Kupono Tanner and Aiden Brown; second row — Vincent Iwamura, Nephi Hong, Jack Regula, James Smythe, Dylan Falk, Asa Howard and Anthony Felice; top row — Kaleo Medeiros, Darren Opunui and Harry Flores.
Coached by Jason Kanaha, Vernon Kanaha and Charlie McCabe, the West Maui All-Star roster includes Kamu Kanaha, Anu McCabe, Ben Zeigler, Ross Panlasigui, Liam Chadli, Chandler Watson, Tyler Toshikiyo, Matt Ramelb, Isaiah Acia, Rylend Nobriga, Jesse Dudoit, Ekolu Mathias and Landon McLaughlin.
The District III lineup includes West Maui, Central Maui, Upcountry, Kihei, Molokai and Lanai, with the Eddie Tam Field in Makawao as the venue for this year's tournament.
Upcountry Little League is the event host, and the ultimate winner will punch a ticket to the state playoffs on Oahu. From there, the winner will advance to the San Bernadino Regional Tournament in Southern California to vie for the ultimate passage to the Little League World Series in Williamsport.
Earlier this month, the WMLL 9-10 Minors All-Stars competed in the District III Tournament held at Dorvin Leis Field in Kihei.
After a valiant effort, West Maui was eliminated from the field that included host team Kihei, Upcountry, Molokai and Central Maui.
The West Maui All-Stars were coached by Harry Flores, Darren Opunui and Kaleo Medeiros. The player roster included Noah Alexander, Will Casco, Kealaula Medeiros, Keanu Kaina, Kupono Tanner, Aiden Brown, Vincent Imamura, Nephi Hong, Jack Regula, James Smythe, Dylan Falk, Asa Howard and Anthony Felice.
The Juniors (13-14) District III Tournament will be held on July 3-6 at Iron Maehara Stadium in Wailuku. The player rosters will be announced in the coming weeks.
West Maui Little League was guided this year by President Anna Kanaha, Vice President Jason Kanaha and board members Harry Flores, Vernon Kanaha, Kaleo Medeiros, Charlie McCabe and Darren Opunui. Congratulations on another great season!