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UHMC Baseball Team: New Hit On Campus!

By Justin Hepburn
On June 10, 2012

On Wednesday, May 30, an informational meeting took place in the student lounge that got the ball rolling on a new UH Maui College Baseball Club team.

Coach Barry Takahashi has been running a "college baseball club" for the last four summers, but this year, UHMC will enter our first ever baseball team into the Maui County Central Park and Recreation Men's Open Baseball League (MOBL).

The league, which consists of nine teams, will play a 16 game regular season schedule, with each team playing an opponent twice. League rules are guided by National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) guidelines (the same rules that govern high school level sports), although there will be a few modifications for league play - one of which is that the league aims to play nine innings on the weekend compared to seven innings as set by the NFHS.

Most games will be played on weekday evenings at Iron Maehara Stadium  when the local professional team, Na Koa Ikaika, is out of town. "Some might be at the Maui High Field because the county rents the stadium out to the independent team there; local leagues like this one and the senior and junior little leagues do not get to use the stadium as much as we'd like to," said Takahashi. "It's not so much that it has seating or lights, it's the fact that it is one of only two regulation baseball fields in Central Maui."

According to Takahashi, one major goal is to get a regulation baseball field dedicated to the UHMC program exclusively that would allow for the proper development of student athletes and help accommodate the local youth leagues when the field is not in use.

Technically the baseball team is a club, but Takahashi has high hopes of developing an intramural sports program that would allow UHMC athletes to compete with those from other UH campuses. Takahashi is also interested in building the foundation for a UHMC Division 2 intercollegiate baseball program here at the college, saying, "UH Manoa and UH Hilo both started as clubs, then developed into intercollegiate programs. Maui has the right elements to do the same - strong youth and adult baseball community, proven talent via the number of MLB draftees and steady stream of quality college players at all levels

The team's goals are to "put together series against other Hawaii and Mainland college clubs in the fall, winter, or spring" and "supplement the college club schedule with series against local club teams via the Men's Open Baseball League, Maui Adult Baseball League, and the American-Japanese Ancestry Baseball League." The UHMC Baseball Club is in the process of scheduling games against MABL and AJA clubs.

The UHMC baseball team is  working on hosting intercollegiate tournaments here on Maui in the near future. Invitations have been sent to schools such as UT Austin, North Carolina, and USC. Long Beach State also showed interest in coming to Maui for pre-season "friendlies", or even putting together a possible tournament.

There will be no admission fee for students to attend games.

 "We want each UHMC night game at Maehara Stadium to be filled with students, staff, and faculty, as well as, community members as we celebrate baseball and cheer for the students on the field," said Takahashi.

Funding for the baseball team will come from the new UHMC student government council. All UHMC athletics will be covered by an activity fee that is part of tuition costs. The activity fees will go toward paying  umpires, providing lighting for night games, equipment, and uniforms.

Team workouts start in mid-June and will be held at Hitter's Paradise in Kihei. League play begins in early July and concludes mid-October. Although there is an emphasis to recruit UHMC students interested in playing baseball, the club is not exclusive to students.  Members of the community, even high school students, interested in joining the club are welcome to get involved and contribute to the progression of collegiate sports  on Maui.

The successful development of a baseball program may bring about new opportunities for the campus by leading the way for other sport teams such as soccer, basketball, and flag-football that will bring with them new energy, increased campus pride and an enhanced college experience for the student body.

In addition to players, the baseball club is currently looking for on-campus groups and individuals who want to help with sports management and marketing. Game announcers, scoreboard operators, music effects engineers, promotion team, entertainers, and vendors  are also needed.

For more information regarding how to get involved with the new baseball activity on campus, contact Barry Takahashi at (808) 250-6835 or by email at barrytakahashi@gmail.com. 


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