WAILUKU – Wehiwa Aloy is hoping he can play baseball for Baldwin High School as a senior in the spring, but he’s not waiting to get the attention of people at the next level.
Aloy was one of more than 50 Maui County players at the ninth annual Paradise Prospects Baseball Camp on a damp Monday afternoon at Maehara Stadium.
Coaches from Saint Martin’s University, Hawaii-Hilo, Hawaii Pacific, William Jessup and Pierce College were all in attendance to watch the players who have not played a high school season since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really grateful for all these coaches coming out” said Aloy, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound shortstop who is the son of former Baldwin and University of Hawaii-Manoa star player Jamie Aloy. “We’re barely exposed on the islands, so I’m really grateful to them.”
Wehiwa Aloy has said he wants to play collegially on the West Coast, but first wants to wear the Bears’ brown and baby blue in 2022.
Currently, fall sports among all leagues in the state with public schools are suspended – the state Department of Education halted matters on August 4 to require COVID vaccination among all student-athletes , coaches and volunteers, with religious and medical exceptions.
Practice is scheduled to resume on September 27, with competition starting two or three weeks later.
“Right now, I have a lot of hope that this will happen” Aloy said, looking at the expanse of Maehara Stadium as he waited for his turn to strike. “I’m very excited to come back here, if that happens, and spend some time with the boys playing ball. It would be amazing, you know, to have a senior season after all this coronavirus thing. It would be a really good time.
Aloy attended a few demonstration events on the mainland and in Oahu, but was able to be home after school on Monday.
A few surprise guests stopped by the field halfway through the three-hour session of baseball activities – Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino and his winning son Shane Victorino, a St. Anthony alumnus. two World Series titles during his major league career.
Shane Victorino addressed the entire group of players and told them he wished he had an opportunity similar to their age. He was back in Maui on a surprise visit from his home in Las Vegas.
“I came home to see my parents, to see how everything was going, to visit the house, to visit the place that I love, to come home” Shane Victorino said. “I wasn’t expecting any of this, but I think it’s great as a kid who just wished there were storefronts like this and an opportunity – and here it is.
“It’s others like me, other guys like Kurt (Suzuki), Kolten Wong, you know, kids who have to keep living our dream, who see that dreams can come true. I mean, that’s what’s pretty cool to watch here. This (thing) never happened when I was in high school. So I think it’s great.
Shane Victorino jumped at the chance to visit the storefront on Monday.
“I didn’t even know, I mean, my dad called and said, ‘Something’s going on in the field,’ so I said, ‘Okay, I have nothing else to do. do, then I will definitely come here, ‘” said Victorino. “Love to see him – he’s the next generation. It’s about work. You have to work no matter what you do for a living. Dreams only come true if you work on them.
Mayor Victorino said he was delighted to be able to bring his youngest son to the storefront.
“I said, ‘Hey, would you like to go, just say hello to the kids? Just a little inspiration, that was it. said Michel Victorino. “We didn’t come here to make long speeches. We came here just to see what they are doing.
The mayor added, “I was so afraid that these children could not be seen. They haven’t had a season, these guys haven’t had a season for two years. The problem I have right now is that I always get the backlash for what MIL and DOE decide and it’s not something… I stand up for our kids every day and want it for them. They deserve it, but we also need to have security protocols. “
Kelly Gau, Saint Martin’s head coach in Lacey, Wash., Said the opportunity to spot the level of players who were all in one place on Monday was good for everyone involved.
“It’s huge, especially the guys on the islands because it’s hard for them to get to the events they have to go to to be seen, especially this year when a lot has been closed.” said Gau. “So that they have something and so that we can get out here, that’s a really big deal.”
Nick Quejado, the head coach of William Jessup University, an NAIA school in Rocklin, Calif., Was attending his second consecutive year of the event.
“Normally it’s just in Hilo and Honolulu, but luckily this is the first time we’ve been able to go out here in Maui and see these guys,” Quejado said. “That’s good. I’m sure Kelly said it earlier, but the guys from Maui don’t show up that often, especially in our regular recruiting.
“So being able to go out here and see guys that we don’t normally see and show them the talent that they already have is kind of an opening to see what baseball is like in Maui.”
Luke Alwood, a senior from Maui High, also clearly caught the attention of the coaches in attendance.
“It’s great because we just got out there and showed what we can do” said Alwood. “We haven’t had a season for a few years and to get this exposure, I think it’s great for everyone on the island. I think this is a very special opportunity for all of us.
Alwood, a 6-4, 210-pound first baseman / outfielder / pitcher, said events like Monday would go a long way towards helping his baseball goals. Recently on the mound he hit 91 mph on the radar guns.
“Right now (the goal) is to play college baseball, but in the long run it’s definitely to play major baseball,” he said.
Kamehameha Maui’s senior first baseman McKay Pali aims to play collegially at Brigham Young University, where he has participated in several camps over the years, including one from which he recently returned.
“I feel like it’s a really good opportunity to just be able to get my name out there because it’s been really a struggle with COVID and all that,” Pali said. “Being here with all of my friends that I know from Little League makes me all the more comfortable and able to have more fun.”
Pali plans to attend another camp at the University of Utah Valley this weekend. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pali hopes to complete an LDS mission before going to college to play baseball.
“I want to go to BYU or UVU, (Grand Canyon), Dixie State,” Pali said. “My plan is to go to BYU, if they offer me a place – serve my mission and then go up to BYU. My mission means a lot. Growing up in the church, it taught me that … God has been there for me, blessed me so much.
* Robert Collias is at [email protected]