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West Maui Little League ends very successful season

By BY WALTER CHIHARA - | Jul 9, 2021

The Little League/Majors Division Tournament was hosted by Kihei Little League on June 25-28 at Kihei Kalama Park. Pictured (from left) are: back row — Coach John Sharp, Wyatt Sharp, JosephJames “Leka” Rosenthal, Jyren Fabia, David “Sola” Kauvaka, Jairus Naho‘oikaika and Coach Gary Morgan; front row — Kyren Malacas-Bagoyo, Kingston Medeiros, Dylan Fair, Kamealoha Lanoza-Uyeda and Luca Acker.

LAHAINA — For youth baseball players all around the world, the early summer days bring the incomparable excitement of the Little League Baseball tournaments that lead up to the World Series Championships in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in early August.

The road to Williamsport — from all corners of the United States, North America, Latin America as well as the Far East, Europe, South America and some Pacific Islands — begins on the local level for the 11- and 12-year-olds in the Majors Division. Here on Maui, the playoffs were held last week at Dorvin Leis Field in Kihei, with District III powerhouse Central East Maui Little League winning the title and the ticket to the regionals at San Bernadino, California.

According to program President Amy Sharp, West Maui Little League concluded its 2021 season with the completion of the Maui All-Star tournaments.

“This year brought many unprecedented changes due to COVID-19, and we are so very grateful to have been able to work with the County of Maui to adopt a Return to Play Plan that was safe and effective for our keiki to be able to enjoy the sport of baseball.”

“This was an extremely successful season for West Maui Little League, as we had 13 total teams. Our registration numbers were the same even though we were in the middle of the pandemic. Baseball brought a sense of normalcy to the West Maui keiki, as many of them were not in school. They were excited to be able to see and interact with their friends in person and get exercise at the same time.”

Sharp added, “An exciting first for this season was that our Minors, Majors, and 50/70 Intermediate Divisions competed over the season games with teams from other leagues here on the Valley Isle. This allowed our players the opportunity to travel to other league’s home baseball fields and interact with more of our Maui community. They played teams from Central East Maui, Maui Upcountry and Kihei Little League this season. This is a new tradition that we hope to continue in the future.”

Sharp led a WMLLB Board of Directors that included Vice President Marc Fair, Player Agent Michael Iwankiw, Secretary Lori Roberts, Treasurer Cheryl Sinogo, Umpire-in- Chief Jason Gilbert, Safety Officer Dylan Stelly, Coaching Coordinator John Sharp, Information Officer Meredith Medeiros and at-large members Karyn Murphy, Ali Bodick and Emmett Marculis.

Sharp added that the league did not seek out any sponsorships this season due to the hardship of COVID-19 on so many businesses in West Maui.

“Since the 2020 season ended prior to completion, our board decided to carry over sponsorship from the 2020 season,” Sharp said. “Mahalo to all of our 2020 and 2021 sponsors!”

Support for West Maui Little League Baseball in 2020 and 2021 was provided by League Sponsors Maui Resort Rental and The Grand Wailea; Division Sponsors King Screen Printing, 5A Rent-A-Space and Duke’s Beach House Maui; Team Sponsors Leilani’s on the Beach, Hula Grill, UFO Parasail, Westin Nanea, Kane’s Legacy Tree Services, Round Table Pizza and Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club; Concession Sponsors Teppanyaki To Go, Big Wave Shave Ice and Makena Golf & Beach Resort; and Hardship Sponsor Merriman’s.