For team Hawaii, connection to Little League World Series spans generations

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 3:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the Little League World Series makes its return after the pandemic canceled last year’s tournament, a team from Hawaii is one of 16 squad in the field and poised to make a championship run.

For the “HNL Boys,” a collection of all-stars from across Oahu, the journey from Kilauea district park to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, started only a couple of months ago when the roster was first put together.

“I just realized early on that this is a strong team with a bunch of really good players, but we’re focused on chemistry together and how we’re gonna mesh and bond together,” said Hawaii infielder/outfielder/pitcher Zack Bagoyo.

The youngsters from Hawaii have some help from someone who’s been down this path.

Zack’s father, Kevin, was on the Pearl City team that made it all the way to the championship game in 1988.

Thirty-three years later, this experience is especially meaningful.

“I’m reliving my own memories through Zack and now that I get to do that as a dad and as a coach, I’m making different memories now,” Kevin said. “The role has changed, but it is something very special and I feel very fortunate.”

This group of 10- to 12-year-olds is well aware of Hawaii’s resume in this setting as the state has claimed three world championships since 2005 and they’re poised to add to the legacy.

“It’s something that we’re very proud of and something that we’d like to keep going,” Kevin said. “We want to represent Hawaii both on and off the field, sharing and spreading the spirit of aloha with everyone and to be ambassadors of aloha and to play baseball.”

Hawaii’s opening game is Thursday morning against Connecticut.

First pitch is set for 7 a.m. Hawaii time.

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