Last Batting Cage in Oahu Closes its Doors

Jim Koishigawa
Jim Koishigawa

WAIPIO (KHNL) -- America's pastime is quickly becoming a thing of the past right here in Hawaii, not that baseball is going away, but the facilities that allow players to improve are disappearing at an alarming rate.

For 9-year-old Charles Naone, coming to the batting cages is one of his favorite activities.

"I like to come here because Todd helps me with my batting."

However, after Monday, Charles won't be able to see Todd at the batter's box in Waipio because they are closing up shop.

"The main reason for closing is because of rent," said Jim Koishigawa, co-owner of Batter's Box. "The rent went up drastically."

The shutdown of the Batter's Box leaves the island without any public batting cages. Last year, cages in Aiea and on the windward side closed their doors for good.

"It's painful in the sense that the kids will not have a place to hit balls, we're taking away something that we were giving before and that's what hurts."

The lack of batting cages will also hurt the progress of Hawaii ball players, just like Charles.

"It helped me a lot, because when I go to my baseball practice, I hit farther and stronger," said Charles.

Exactly the reason why the Koishigawa's are not giving up hope of opening another shop in the near future.

"We'll do it for the kids and the community and we love doing that and just seeing people progress and grow."

As for Charles, he'll have to find a new place to polish his game.

"I don't know where I'm going to work, should make another batting cage."

The Koishigawa's did find someone else to take over their lease, and for the time being their four batting cages will be held in storage.

They hope they'll be back in business by the end of the year.