(NOTE: Na Koa Ikaika Maui has postponed indefinitely the press conference mentioned below due to Eri Yoshida suffering a “non-baseball related ankle injury,” team VP/GM Bob Elder announced Tuesday morning.)
First the bad news: The Na Koa Ikaika Maui professional baseball team is on an eight-game losing streak, having lost most recently (on July 31) to Jose Canseco’s Yuma Scorpions 12-4.
And the really bad news: in early July the 2nd Circuit Court ruled that Hawaii Baseball LLC, the California-based owner of the Na Koa Ikaika team, owes $12,259.53 to Pacific Radio Group (PRG). The money is mostly fees for broadcasting the team’s first 11 games this season–money PRG said the team never paid it.
Look, disagreements over contracts and fees happen all the time in business. But the real pain here came from PRG attorney Keri Mehling’s court documents, which stuck a knife in the heart of everyone who considers Na Koa Ikaika Maui’s “home team.”
The money quote appeared in the July 20 Maui News: “Hawaii Baseball is a foreign entity incorporated in California,” Mehling wrote in court filings. “Other than conducting games on Maui during the existing short season, Hawaii Baseball has virtually no contacts with Maui or Hawaii.”
Ouch! That hurts more than Canseco’s Scorpions. Nonetheless, there is good news for Na Koa Ikaika fans–historic news, in fact.
Tomorrow at noon, the team will hold a press conference at The Ale House in Kahului announcing their newest acquisition: pitcher Eri Yoshida, formerly of the Chico Outlaws. This is a big deal not because Yoshida is Japanese, but because she’s a chick.
“Yoshida, 19, made headlines and impressed the baseball world last summer when she became the first female to play professionally in Japan and the U.S.,” stated a joint Na Kao Ikaika/County of Maui press release sent out July 28. “Equipped with a sidearm knuckleball that is considered almost un-hittable when she is on, she has played for the Kobe Cruise 9 of the Kansai League in Japan and then in the Arizona Winter League in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011 and also with the Chico Outlaws last year. She also became the first female pro player to have a hit and an RBI in a professional men’s league and her jersey and bat from the 2010 Chico Outlaws were requested by, and are displayed in, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. She began playing baseball in the 2nd grade and credits Tim Wakefield as the inspiration for her 50 mph knuckleball delivered from her 5 foot 1 inch, 115 lb frame.”
Since Yoshida used to play for Na Koa Ikaika Manager Garry Templeton, the transition should be pretty straightforward. “I am excited to have Eri back pitching for me again,” Templeton said in the news release. “She looked very good against us last week and has worked hard and improved a lot this past year.”
Yoshida apparently agrees. “I will always be grateful to the Chico Outlaws for the opportunity they gave me last season and this summer too, but now I will try my best for Maui,” she said in the news release. “I am excited to play in Maui for Mr. Templeton and with my old teammates and also because we have family ties to the island and I am very comfortable there.”
ERI YOSHIDA PRESS CONFERENCE
Tuesday, Aug. 2, Noon
The Ale House
355 E. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului
PHOTO BY SEAN MICHAEL HOWER