Out of the Park
At Kalani High School, we don't even have our own baseball field on campus. The area behind the school originally designated for football and baseball fields is occupied by luxury townhouses. This is why the Falcons have come to call Kahala Community Park, "home". Despite having to travel to their home field for every practice, and being forced to vacate it by 5:00 pm every day, the Falcons have made the best of this situation.
For a high school that is only 50 years young, its Kalani Falcons Baseball Program has made its mark not only in Hawaii sports history, but in international sports history as well. Former Falcon baseball players have graced the rosters of teams in major events such as the Super Bowl, the World Series, and even the Summer Olympics.
In fact, the Kalani Baseball Program is the only public school team to ever win the ILH (which formerly consisted of both public and private schools) Baseball Championship, and the State Championship in the same year. From this team came two Major League players, and an Olympian - Ryan Kurosaki, Lenn Sakata, and Joe Story, respectively.
Pitcher Ryan Kurosaki, who was the ILH Player of the Year in 1970, attended the University of Nebraska. He made his major league debut as a Saint Louis Cardinal in 1975, and has the distinction of being the first American of Japanese Ancestry to make it to the majors.
His Falcon teammate and fellow ILH all-star, Lenn Sakata, was also a college all-star at Gonzaga University in Washington State. Sakata's career with the Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A's, Baltimore Orioles, and the New York Yankees, spanned a combined total of 11 years and garnered him a World Series ring while with the Orioles.
Joe Story, an ILH all-star outfielder from Kalani's 1970 Hawaii State Championship Team, was a member of the U.S. Team Handball squad from 1978-1988. He was the Olympic team's captain from 1986-1988. He was named the team's player of the year in 1980 and 1986.
And, the list goes on...
Roy Gerela, catcher on the Falcon baseball team in the 1960's, went on to win three Super Bowl rings as a kicker with the Pittsburg Steelers.
Shane Komine, an OIA and Hawaii State all-star who was a member of the 1998 OIA East Championship Team, attended the University of Nebraska, where he became a three-time Baseball America All-America selection. He was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 1999, and was awarded back-to-back Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors in 2000 and 2001. He left Nebraska as their career leader in wins (41) and strikeouts (510). The Oakland Athletics drafted him in the ninth round of the 2000 Major League draft. Komine made his major league debut on July 30, 2006 against the Toronto Blue Jays, and is the third Kalani Falcon to make it to the "Big Show"!
In 2004, the Falcons had their fourth player drafted by Major League Baseball. The Kansas City Royals drafted pitcher Ty Sarchet, who is currently playing at the college level in California.
The latest Falcon to be drafted by Major League Baseball is Ridge Carpenter, class of 2007. Ridge was drafted by the Boston Red Sox but did not sign, he choose to go the college and will re-enter the draft after finishing college.
Additionally, there are numerous Falcon alumni who are "living the dream" by playing at the collegiate level across America.
Kalani's baseball program continues to produce outstanding student athletes every year who reach the highest levels of collegiate, and professional sports. But even more importantly, Kalani has nurtured student athletes who have made successful lives for themselves, no matter what their calling. It is incredible that so many great athletes on Major League Baseball, Super Bowl and US Olympic teams have represented a small public high school on the east side of Oahu.