Pro baseball coming to Valley Isle - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pro baseball coming to Valley Isle

Cory Snyder Cory Snyder
Mark Okano Mark Okano

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The team will be called Na Ikaika Koa Maui (The Strong Warriors of Maui). It will be part of the Golden Baseball League, an independent league that formed in 2005 and has teams in California, Arizona, Canada, and Mexico.

Team officials announced their arrival during a joint press conference Tuesday with Maui county officials.

Na Ikaika Koa signed its player, former Aiea High School star Mark Okano, and introduced its new manager, former major league slugger Cory Snyder who played for six big league ball clubs including the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers.

"My job here is to bring a team here that the people of Maui can be proud to say, you know what? That's our team," Snyder said during the press conference.

"The players when they come, they are playing for the love of the game. And that's what's beautiful about minor league baseball. It's not about the money. It's about the love and the passion they have for baseball," added team president Rick Berry.

"The way I look at it is, if I can play at home, then this is my big show. Of course this game is my passion, and they've been bringing it up. For the love of the game. That's why I'm here," Okano said.

Na Ikaika Koa will play in Iron Maehara Baseball Stadium in Wailuku. The season will begin in may.

Snyder said if he can find the talent, they would like to sign five or six local players.

Na Ikaika Koa will be Hawaii's only minor league team and the first on the Valley Island since the Maui Stingrays folded in 1997.

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