Hawaii Stars Professional Baseball, owned and operated by Hawaii Baseball, LLC, will be part of the Pacific Association, a new independent minor league, and will kick off the season when it renews its rivalry in inter-league play with the Shinano Grandserows of the Japan Baseball Challenge League on May 28 at Wong Stadium in Hilo.
The Hawaii Stars announced joining the new independent league as well as having a 77-game schedule on Monday.
The Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, headed by former Dodgers All-Star Mike Marshall as Commissioner, will have four teams and play a 77-game league schedule, featuring the returning Hawaii Stars, Na Koa Ikaika Maui, the San Rafael Pacifics, who return for their second season, and the newest entry to join the new league, the Vallejo Admirals, out of Vallejo, Calif., in Sonoma County.
After the opening series against the Shinano Grandserows, the Stars will host another team from the Challenge League, the Ishikawa Million Stars, who open against the Stars’ sister team in Kahului. The Stars squad will compete with the Maui Strong Warriors in 24 home and away contests for Hawaii’s bragging rights. Both Hawaii and Maui will travel to Japan and play all six teams in the Japan Baseball Challenge League.
This season will also welcome some new competition for the Stars. The East Bay Lumberjacks and Santa Rosa Rosebuds, both Bay Area teams, will both pay visits to the Big Island. Hawaii travels to California on two road trips against its Bay Area rivals and ends its season with a trip to Arizona and more inter-league play with the Freedom League’s Phoenix Prospectors and the Prescott Federals before entering the league playoffs.
“Our owner, Bob Young, and David Andrus, our COO, worked long and hard over this past winter with these teams in the Pacific Rim to showcase the talent in independent baseball, said Stars assistant general manager Karen Chaves.
“Our fans and supporters will see another exciting season of professional baseball on the Big Island right here in Hilo.”
Andrus added: “This winter was all about new beginnings, never done before in organized baseball, and our schedule is a testament to that. I am excited for our loyal fans in Hawaii and Maui as we embrace these new opportunities of minor league baseball with Hawaii right at the heart of it.”