Strike-out! New softball coaches lead girls varsity team to a better season record


Kamm Kojima

Player Darian Kanno pitches a ball to the opponent team during the 2019 season. Spring sports were cut short this year due to the coronavirus.

Abigail Yagi, Staff Writer

The new softball coaching staff helped the team to improve their winning record this season with their fresh and competitive approach, players said. 

The team went through three different coaching staffs in the past three seasons. The 2017-2018 season ended with a 3-9 record. This season, they are currently 10-7.

The coaches applying their knowledge of the game helped them individually, and as a whole said 12th grader Ka‘ale‘a Hanawahine.

“They obviously knew the record or what the reputation was, but they put all of that aside and just worked with us and got to know us as people and players,” said Hanawahine. 

The new softball staff includes varsity head coach Aiko Gojo, and varsity assistant coaches Skylar Tokumine and Kristel Chinen. Gojo coached for Punahou, Roosevelt and a combined team of St. Francis, St. Andrew’s Priory, and Hawaii Baptist Academy.

Gojo said her coaching style is about discipline, fundamentals and respect.

“I want to teach the right way to play the game,” said Gojo. “I want players to make decisions, not just telling them what to do all the time.”

Junior Samantha Newman played softball for Mid-Pacific the last three seasons. She said there wasn’t any struggle transitioning to a new coaching staff.

“Everything worked out really well. The coaches pushed us to be better and that made the team stronger,” said Newman. 

Hanawahine said she did not know what to expect for her last upcoming season. 

“I was a little scared to have someone come in not knowing what their coaching style is or anything about them at all,” said Hanawahine. “But the transitions are always easy because you have the same teammates.”

Newman said that it did benefit the team to experience something new since they had a rough last couple of seasons.

“In practice, they pushed us a lot more and they made us think about the work we were putting in and how it would affect the outcome.” said Newman.

Gojo said the girls work well with each other, work hard and are coachable.

“They could improve on little things like execution, making plays and pitching strikes,” said Gojo.

Hanawahine said that she loves the new coaching staff and their supportiveness.

“Although they haven’t been coaching in the community recently, they all have coaching experience and they all played collegiate ball so they know how it is,” said Hanawahine. “They’re super competitive which we needed.”