Last summer the state of Hawaii got to know the kids on the Little League World Series Championship team. It seemed like they covered every inch of the islands on their victory tour. Now, one of the standouts from that team is surfacing once again. Aukai Kea achieved another youth baseball milestone this week.
The star pitcher for the Little League World Series winners is now on the roster for the 14U National Team Development Program, run by USA Baseball. The 13, soon to be 14 year old Kea is listed as a catcher/infielder. He attends Kamehameha.
Kea will head to North Carolina for training and tournaments, July 21st-24th.
“This is a great opportunity to represent not only the state now but our whole country,” said Kea. “This is a great opportunity. I’m so grateful. Hope to gain exposure for the Hawaii boys. Us on this rock, we don’t get as much light as the bigger parts. Show them what Hawaii about. My dad told me I made the team and I was like ‘not bad.’ But I just got to keep on working. Grind never stops. Especially when you have these opportunities.”
Aukai’s youth baseball checklist has very few items left to be checked off — at this stage.
“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t really get you warm inside,” shared Sam Kea, Aukai’s father. “Everybody likes to see your kids be successful in whatever they do. Sometimes success is not always winning. Hard to put into words. But, very proud.”
“My biggest goal is to make it to the Bigs,” said Aukai. “That’s not going to happen without dedication and time. These tournaments can actually help.”
Kea and youth players will be helping instruct a free youth clinic put on by Kado Baseball (Aukai’s travelling team) on August 4th. It will be held at Mid-Pacific Field. More information.