Sports

Konawaena Baseball Equipment Stolen From Inaba Field

May 7, 2013, 2:38 PM HST
* Updated May 7, 3:05 PM
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Hours after a heartbreaking loss in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II championship, the Konawaena Wildcats baseball team would be letdown again when team and personal equipment was taken from the school’s Gabby Inaba Field in Kealakekua.

Konawaena Head Coach Dave Distel said Tuesday that the team drove back to the field following the game and arrived shortly after 11:30 p.m. He said that the players responsible for the equipment left it in front of the field’s shed and miscommunication led to the baseball items being left out as everyone left.

In the morning, Distel said one of the players called him and asked if he “picked the equipment up.” The player then told him that the equipment was gone.

According to Emma Yamaguchi, mother of catcher Evyn Yamaguchi, the items that were taken from the field were a mixture of team and personal equipment. Her son’s cleats were among the items that were taken.

Items that belonged to the team that were missing included a brown Mizuno bat bag with “Konawaena Wildcats” printed on it, three bats, and a set of large, silver and green catchers gear made by the brand All-Star.

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Another set of catcher’s equipment, belonging to another member of the team, was also taken. The gear is made by Easton and is reversible in green and grey colors. It is intermediate size and comes with a small helmet.

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Fortunately, the story took a positive turn. Yamaguchi turned the information in to multiple media outlets,which prompted a call to Distel from SportsLine owner Stanley Costales Jr.

“I got into work and my wife heard it on the radio,” said Costales. After she described the situation to him, he said, “let me call them up and see if I can help them in any way.”

Distel described the conversation on ESPN Radio’s “The Josh Pacheco Show.” He said that Costales asked him what he needed, and he replied by saying that he needed a “hockey style” catcher’s helmet. The SportsLine owner replied by offering to donate an entire set of catcher’s equipment to the team for use during the tournament.

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So how was the equipment getting from the sporting goods store’s Hilo location to Kealakekua in time for the tourney? Distel said in an e-mail that through the assistance of assistant coach Randy Morris, who is also an officer with the Hawai`i Police Department, they were able to get police captain Richard Sherlock to drive to Hilo to pick up the equipment and deliver it to the team.

The generosity doesn’t stop there. Distel said that he got at least three calls “from people that we know that are willing to donate to our program to get the stuff back. So, we go from kind of a tough night, to an even tougher loss, to some wonderful news.”

Yamaguchi told KAPA FM’s Ka`ea Alapa`i that one of those calls came from Mike Rehnner, who gave a donation.

Anyone with information on the missing equipment should call Konawaena’s athletic department at at 323-4500, extension 270 or 303.

The Wildcats face Maryknoll in the quarterfinals of the Wally Yonamine Foundation / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association Division II Baseball Championships on Thursday. Game time is 7:00 p.m. from Waipahu’s Hans L’Orange Park.

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