Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

Lanai hits the
road in style

THIS was the best road trip, EVER.

The Lanai Pine Lasses each had Valentine's Day roses yesterday and they had won third place in the Data House State Softball Championships Division II tournament. And people who didn't even know them had cheered them on.

But it was even more than that.

This was the best road trip, EVER.

And Lanai has experience with this. The Pine Lasses know something about road trips. For them, every road trip is a ROAD TRIP.

They leave the island, four or five times a season. They go to road games by boat, hitching a 40-minute ferry ride. Lanai plays in the Maui Interscholastic League, which means that many of the games are, um, on Maui.

Which means sleeping in locker rooms. "And sometimes," Lanai coach Rod Sumagit said yesterday, after his team had beaten Honokaa 10-1, "when school's in session we have to leave the locker rooms and we're homeless until 2 in the afternoon."

That's the typical Lanai road trip. "The full experience," Sumagit said. "These guys get to experience everything."

"Mosquito bites on the eyes," winning pitcher Jerri Fauatea said. "Seeing cockaroaches all over the bathrooms."

"Yeah," Lanai third baseman Ashley Fernandez added. "Just nasty things."

"Our AeroBed is flat in the morning," Justine Ige said.

"It has a puka in it," Fauatea said.

Yes, on the road, in the locker room, they sleep on an air mattress.

"Or," Coach Sumagit added, "just the plain old dirty wrestling mat."

But not this time. Lanai had hit the big time. Hotel rooms. Traveling between islands by plane!

Division II softball and girls basketball tournaments were part of the package that brought two-tiered classification to Hawaii high school football this season. And as part of the deal HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya and his wife Bonny offered to offset any losses by a second football bracket, and pay travel costs for the softball and girls basketball championships as well.

Last night, Lanai savored its victory in style. "We'll just go back, enjoy ourselves at the room and then come back and watch the championship game," Sumagit said. They had more to see and do. They had time to soak it in. They go back home today.

"This was the best experience I ever had," Fernandez said.

It was a great ending for a class of Lanai seniors that had gone 2-10 as freshmen, made the MIL playoffs ("for the first time," Sumagit said) as sophomores, beat every team in the league as juniors, and, yesterday, won a state tournament game.

It was a great road trip. The best in Lanai's history.

The Pine Lasses hit patiently, ran aggressively. And after the game every girl hugged.

Then the Lanai contingent gathered, before heading back to its air-conditioned, wrestling mat-free, non-locker room heaven. They busted out the cupcakes under a coconut tree. The celebration was in full swing.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at


E-mail to Sports Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --