Parents pay the price for their little leaguer's to play ball

Tanner Tokunaga
Tanner Tokunaga
Glenn Tokunaga
Glenn Tokunaga
Emmely Kahaloa
Emmely Kahaloa
Paul Cannell
Paul Cannell

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In 2008, Tanner Tokunaga lit up the Little League World Series title game with a slugger's stat line.

"Two for five with two home runs and three strikeouts," he said.

Tanner came home with a championship and a dugout's worth of souvenirs. His father came back with a bill.

"I'd say over $5,000, close to maybe $6,000 or $7,000," Glenn Tokunaga said. "You have to get air tickets at the last minute. You have to try and book a hotel. You got to get a rental car. And there's a lot of souvenirs and all kinds of stuff that you got to get up there."

That's the cost Hawaii parents pay when their little leaguers play tournaments on the mainland and win like this year's Waipio team is doing.

Ian Kahaloa and his Ewa Beach Broncos just won the Pony League World Series in California during an 18-day road trip.

"The cost was well over $5,000 plus. I had five days remaining for vacation and I had to go and ask for a leave of absence," his mother, Emmely Kahaloa, said.

Paul Cannell runs the Central Oahu Youth Baseball League.

"When you go to a mainland tournament you don't know how long you're going to be there so that really is what drives the cost up," he said.

Cannell said some parents take out second mortgages on their homes to foot the bill.

Glenn Tokunaga's two sons played in mainland tournaments three years in a row.

"We're probably going to be working for the rest of my life just to pay off those trips to the mainland for the boys," he said.

Tanner appreciates his parents' sacrifice.

"Very appreciative because without them I wouldn't be able to do anything," he said.

Glenn Tokunaga said the memory of winning the World Series will remain with his family forever.

In that sense shelling out big bucks may be a small price to pay.

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