Kevin Yee sees a bright future for Waiakea’s baseball program, saying the Warriors’ next three freshmen classes will “put them in the running for a state title for five or six years.”
Yee will be around to see those runs, but he won’t have his usual spot in the team’s dugout.
After the Warriors ended their season with a 3-1 loss to Maui in the fifth-place semifinals of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I state tournament Friday at Maui’s Iron Maehara Stadium, Yee informed his team he will step down as Waiakea head coach and become an assistant baseball coach at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
“I told them I appreciated the opportunity to coach them, and I wish the seniors well with their future endeavors — whatever they may be,” Yee said. “I told the guys coming back, ‘You guys have to work hard,’ because the guys coming up are gunning for their jobs.”
Yee ended a two-year stint with the Warriors, leading them to a state title in his first season.
“I appreciated the time I got to coach, and I give credit to all the assistant coaches,” Yee said. “None of the success would have happened without their sacrifice and their support.”
In Yee’s final game with the Warriors, Waiakea (12-6) managed just six hits against Sabers pitcher T.J. Molina, who went the distance.
Waiakea scored its lone run in the first inning, when Andy Filoteo lined a single to right that plated Kodi Medeiros.
Medeiros finished 2 for 3, but Yee said the Warriors weren’t patient at the plate throughout the game. They made seven first-pitch outs.
On the mound, Chase Komatsu did well to wiggle out some tough jams in five innings of work, but four balks — the Sabers (13-5) scored a run on one of them — and three hit batsmen hurt him.
“You’re always going to put yourself behind the eight ball when you give them free bases,” Yee said.
Calvin Uemura followed Komatsu with two scoreless innings.
Yee called the entire season “a learning experience” for much of his team. He said seven of his nine starters had never started before on the varsity level.
“It takes time when you have those situations,” Yee said. “We had our ups and downs, but they played with effort, and that’s all you can ask for.”