February 27, 2015, I was in seventh grade at the time. It was on that date that I was inducted into the Punahou Baseball Program, the beginning of a brotherhood that would carry my teammates and I through life. It was also the first step for my class, our team, the class of 2020, to reach the top of the mountain. Our team would be the one to bring back the Koa trophy that had been so elusive for five years.
Four years, two months and 14 days later, we brought back the trophy. I was happy about it, but it was supposed to just be a building block for what was in store for the 2020 season.
This year, the state baseball tournament was scheduled to be at Les Murakami Stadium from May 11-15. We won it at Iron Maehara Stadium on the island of Maui last year. If there was one thing that I ever wanted, it was to win states in front of my family and friends on the diamond at Les Murakami.
On March 13 we learned that the season was going to be suspended until April 16 due to the Coronavirus. We did not think much about it because we thought that we were going to be able to play once the suspension ended. But on April 17, our head coach told us that the season had come to a premature end and his heart was with all of our seniors. I never thought in my entire life that I would not have a season of baseball in the spring, especially my senior year.
Team Captain, Makana Murashige ‘20, who has been a key in the team’s success since seventh grade had some powerful words about the loss of the season due to Coronavirus. “It was abrupt and disappointing, but there’s nothing we can do about it. There are bigger problems in the world right now. It’s all about perspective. This was our one and only chance to continue the legacy that we created last year, but now we can’t. All I can say is I love the guys that played beside me. I’ll never forget what we had.”
Makana hit a grand slam in the semifinals last year that catapulted the team to the championship game and eventually the Koa trophy. Like all of the other seniors, he saw his senior season taken away from him. Our head coach, Keenan Sue, has always told us to “play every game as if it were your last”. That quote just means a little more in times like these.
Coach Sue gave his thoughts on the loss of the season: “Although it is a huge loss for the seniors, it is a win at the same time. It is easy to be together and say all good things when life is going good. It is not easy to do that in times where things are taken away from you and you experience losses like these.”
I believe everything happens for a reason. Later in life, we are going to be stronger because of the setbacks of 2020. Talking with Coach Keenan made me feel better about the situation that I am going through right now.
I am lucky because we were able to win a championship the season before. We got the taste of what being a champion feels like. We were not disappointed last season. We were able to prove to the state that the Punahou boys can play excellent baseball. I am extremely thankful that my last game of my last full high school season of baseball ended with a championship that broke the nine year drought.
In the end, I hope I can speak on behalf of the class of 2020. We are a strong class. We were born in the time of 9/11. We came into high school with the Ebola outbreak. Our class won numerous state championships. We are one of the smartest classes that I have ever seen. We have done it all in our time at Punahou School. And of course, we leave here with the bitter taste of the effects of the Coronavirus. I am sure that down the line, we will have the edge in life because we know what it is to have something that means so much, taken away from us in a blink of an eye.