Ten years ago, the Hawaii Pacific softball team had a magical season that ended with the program’s first and only national championship.
The Sea Warriors went 50-8 for the 2010 season, including 4-0 at the Women’s College World Series, ending with a 4-3 win over Valdosta State in the clinching game.
The run was unlikely to co-head coach Bryan Nakasone, noting that approximately half of the team was made up of freshmen. But the team had grit and belief, a formula that it used all the way to hoisting a national championship trophy.
HPU was able to host regionals and super regionals prior to the World Series. But it had faced elimination games three times. With their backs against the wall, the Sea Warriors won all three to clinch a spot in St. Joseph, Mo.
“Actually, there was no time in the year where I thought that,” Nakasone told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida of the team’s improbable run to the World Series. “It was like ‘We’re here now, now what do we do?’
Once the team got to St. Joseph, Nakasone noticed a size disparity between his club and the rest of the teams there.
“By stature, we were the smallest team there in size by far,” Nakasone said. “They’re looking at all these 6-1, 6-foot, 5-10 kids and ours are 5-2, 5-3, 5-4.
“You look at their eyes, you look at their faces and you can tell that we’re not going to lose a game. That was the attitude and the expression they gave,” Nakasone said of his squad.
The Sea Warriors swept through World Series competition, led by ace pitcher Sherise Musquiz, who went 34-3 on the mound for the 2010 season and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the CWS, earning a win in all four games.
Upon landing back home, the team was greeted by family, friends and fans in a crowded Honolulu International Airport. The team was also honored in multiple public appearances. Ten years later, many of those memories and lessons still remain.
“Not many teams get to go to the World Series and win it,” Nakasone said. “For the experience for these kids from Hawaii especially shared up there, they still talk about it and they won’t forget it for a lifetime. It really gave them the feeling that they can do anything no matter what the odds.”