KS Kapālama middle schoolers who were part of the Little League Baseball World Series Championship squad are mobbed by media, students and teachers at a Keawe Gym celebration this morning. Their team brought home the hardware after defeating South Korea, 3-0, on Sunday.
Five student-athletes from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School were honored this morning in Keawe Gym for their accomplishments as members of the 2018 Little League Baseball World Series Championship squad that brought home the hardware after defeating South Korea, 3-0, on Sunday.
The students honored were: seventh graders Aukai Kea and Bruce Boucher; and eighth graders John de la Cruz, Ka‘olu Holt and Caleb Okada.
The ceremony, which doubled as a “Welcome Back to School” pep rally, featured performances by the band and cheerleaders. The team was then congratulated by KS Po‘o Kula (Head of School) Dr. Taran Chun and Middle School Po‘o Kumu (Principal) Kula Gaughen-Haili before players were implored by their peers and haumāna (students) from the KS Elementary School to say a few words, which drew waves of cheers and applause.
“I’m so proud of our student-athletes…they faced the world in a global competition, and came out victors,” said Gaughen-Haili. “But, even more impressive was the character that they showed. They touched peoples’ hearts, not only through victory, but through their character and being great kids. Globally, your impact on the world was the true victory.”
Added Chun: “Today, we’re celebrating this entire Little League team that inspired the whole state, and many throughout the world with the courageous way that they played. We’re so proud of you five student-athletes for not only representing your family and the entire state, but Kamehameha Schools as well.”
This morning’s celebration continued the whirlwind homecoming tour that the team and the players’ families and supporters have enjoyed. After winning the championship on Sunday afternoon, the squad returned to Honolulu early Monday afternoon via Newark, New Jersey, where the team’s plane was honored with a water cannon send-off by the fire department on hand.
After landing in Honolulu, the team met Gov. David Ige and a handful of politicians from across the state for a media conference before hundreds of well-wishers greeted the Honolulu Little League team with lei and gifts. Zippy’s Restaurants also joined in on the momentous occasion, and handed out Zip Pacs for the weary travelers.
When asked how he exuded “Aloha” throughout the experience, Holt said: “I thought about all those supporting us at home, and loved each and every one of my teammates.”
Holt was the winning pitcher in the World Series Championship game after limiting South Korea to two hits and striking out eight in a complete-game effort, while Kea helped the Honolulu squad claim the United States Championship after notching 15 strikeouts the day prior in a 3-0 win over Georgia.
The Champs have arrived! Ho‘omaika‘i to the 2018 Little League Baseball World Series Champions from Honolulu. The squad, which defeated South Korea on Sunday to claim the title, features five student-athletes from Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus Middle School: (from left) Bruce Boucher, John Dela Cruz, Caleb Okada, Aukai Kea and Ka‘olu Holt. The student-athletes were joined at the airport this afternoon by hundreds of well-wishers, including KS Po‘o Kula Taran Chun (left), Middle School Vice Principal Robert Hesia (center) and Middle School Po‘o Kumu Kula Gaughen-Haili.