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LHS baseball team was competitive with its full roster back

By Staff | May 3, 2018

The team includes (from left): front — Javien Kanaha, Ekolu Mathias, Koapaka Purdy, Kala‘i “Duke” Storer, Mason Arruda, Kamu Kanaha and James Smythe; back row — Kalena Kalanikau, Isaia Acia, Raige Bush, Eke Storer, Kamahao Acpal, Ben Ziegler and Anu McCabe. Not pictured are Kainalu Kaililaau, Nainoa Ko, Nainoa Kulukulualani Sales, Maika Barroga and Kainoa Chung.

LAHAINA – It took the Lahainaluna High School baseball team almost the entire season to get their spikes in the dirt and gain some traction to compete in the Maui Interscholastic League, but when they did, the Lunas became a competitive force.

Once again hampered by academic problems, the West Side program was without five experienced starters for most of the season, which forced head coach Manu Kenolio and his staff to juggle the Lunas’ lineup and play four freshmen for most of the year. Welcome to MIL Division I baseball, which includes defending state champion and nationally ranked Baldwin.

“We were able to field a competitive team when we got those five players back, and it’s always good to compete against a program like Baldwin,” said Coach Manu, who is assisted by trusty sidekicks Darren Opunui and Harry Flores, as well as Tim Acpal and Roen Ginoza.

“We’re just now getting our full roster back, so we’ll be playing more competitively now.”

Just in the nick of time, as the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament is slated for the first week of May at Les Murakami Stadium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.

The 2018 Lunas were led by senior captain Raige Bush along with classmates Nainoa Ko, Kainoa Chung, Mason Arruda and Jaiven Kanaha. The team included juniors Kainalu Kaililaau, Kamaha’o Acpal, Koapaka Purdy, Skylan Tabon Laborte and Etuati Storer; sophomores Nainoa Kulukulualani Sales, Isaiah Acia, Maika Barroga, Kalewa Kalinikau, Anu McCabe and Kamuo’okalani Kanaha; along with freshmen sensations Ekolu Mathias, James Smythe, Ben Zeigler and Esekielu Storer.

“All in all, it’s been a good learning experience for all of us and we’ve all learned a lot from this season. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Roundtable Pizza and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers for their support of the team fundraisers. And a big mahalo to Auntie Rae Matsumoto for her work getting our paperwork done – I’d be lost without her help. Also, special thanks to my wife, Crim, daughter Ana and sister Mik Kenolio for all their work throughout the year,” Coach Manu concluded.