Baseball team seeks support to attend Nevada tourney and help cancer charities
LAHAINA – With a little help from their friends and ‘ohana, the Lahaina Heat Mustangs are headed to Las Vegas in mid-October to participate in the 11 years and under, “Fight on 4 the Cure” baseball tournament.
The community is invited to join the battle against cancer and help send the West Side team to the Mainland at a spaghetti dinner/silent auction fundraiser planned for Saturday night, Aug. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Waiola Church Hall in Lahaina.
Event festivities include a keiki corner, jumping castle, live entertainment, raffle and silent auction.
Donation tickets are $10. Proceeds from this event will help with the team airfare, transportation, housing and tourney registration expenses, with $10 from each team registration contributed to Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation and $10 donated to the Orion Cancer Foundation.
“We chose this charity, because we have all been affected by cancer. Even as we speak, we have those dear to us fighting for their lives. It’s a great way to put things in perspective and realize that we can’t sweat the little things. We can use our energy in a positive way to support those who are going through hard times, dealing with such a terrible disease. We also hope that this will teach the kids valuable lessons in life,” Coach Joshua Kahula explained.
After a regular season of nine wins and one loss, the Lahaina Heat tied for first place in their league and are in training to compete in the Nevada contest on Oct. 14 and 15.
“Playing in this tournament is important for the same reasons these kids are playing the game. Baseball teaches the children respect, teamwork, dealing with failure, dealing with success and above all teaches them that what they get out of life will directly relate to what they put into it. The tournament is simply a culmination of the effort they put in,” Coach Kahula observed.
This was the team’s second season on the field, and coaches Ryan Toshikiyo, Dalton Magno, Brody Long and Kahula are justly proud of their record.
“Participation in team sports is important to me both as a parent and as a coach, because I believe it is our responsibility to raise our children to contribute to their community,” Coach Long told the Lahaina News.
“As a team member of the Lahaina Heat, no one player is more important than another. The team wins and loses together as a whole – players, coaches and family. Everyone who is a part of this baseball family knows the effort put forth in practices, carpooling, scheduling, fundraising and more.
“Regardless of the scoreboard, Lahaina Heat Baseball is winning,” Coach Long added.
The age of the players on the 14-member roster ranges from nine to 11 years old. In the fourth and fifth grades, the winning West Maui mix attends either Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School, King Kamehameha III Elementary School or Sacred Hearts School.
“This team is a family on and off the field. The boys started their special bond in the dugout and on the field. The tournament and the fundraising efforts have simply brought the families closer together,” Coach Long commented.
Community is a big part of the Lahaina Heat playbook.
“These kids have a lot of spunk, energy and talent. They are also very much aware of who they represent: West Maui. Many of these kids’ roots are strong in the community. They realize that their actions and attitudes are a reflection of their community, coaches and especially parents. When they put their Lahaina Heat jersey on, it is to be worn with a sense of humility, respect and dignity,” Coach Kahula advised.
As usual, the community has responded.
“We are so fortunate to have the support of Friends of Lahainaluna Football. They have been so helpful with mentoring us,” Kahula said.
The No Ka Oi team of Laurie Lei and Alton DeGama, as always, is on the sidelines.
“We chose to help Lahaina Heat Mustangs – one for the cure for cancer tournament, but two is because Amy (Kahula) and Kim Ann (Magno) are hustling. They have their team working hard to try and get to this tournament; teaching the kids the work ethic: if you work hard, dream big, this is what you can get.
“They’ve been doing various fundraisers,” Laurie Lei continued. “The businesses of the community have donated to their silent auction, entertainers are coming together. It’s a great thing to be from Lahaina! Our community is strong and supportive of each other.”
Tickets are being presold by team players for a $10 donation for the spaghetti dinner, or contact Kim Ann Magno at 276-9097.