Mililani's Tony Aquino posted a complete-game, nine-strikeout 3-1 victory over Kamehameha in a preseason tournament.

The price is right

Tony Aquino and Chaz Miyashiro
give Mililani the best bargain in town

It appears that the best bargain in town may not remain a secret for long.

Despite the cornucopia of bargain bins and "Roll Back the Price" items at the Wal-Mart on Lanikuhana Avenue, it is a sure bet that Mililani High School's senior tandem of Tony Aquino and Chaz Miyashiro will give you a lot more bang for your buck.

Leading the Trojans with their arms and bats, Aquino and Miyashiro have let the state in on another secret -- Mililani baseball is back. But you won't hear it from them.

They won't mention that Mililani has gone 7-3 in the preseason with a number of wins over perennial powers and has earned a No. 3 ranking in this week's Star-Bulletin State Baseball Top 10.

The Trojans rely on Chaz Miyashiro for power hitting.

Sitting with Aquino and Miyashiro, two of 10 seniors on this year's squad, it quickly becomes apparent that like its co-captains, Mililani would much rather earn its respect on the field.

"They are our quiet leaders," Mililani coach Dean Sato said. "They don't talk a whole lot, but they definitely lead by example and they set the tempo for us. Our seniors as a whole are a hard-working, together and quiet bunch."

On the field, the duo's versatility speaks volumes, as both have established themselves as college-caliber athletes, receiving interest from schools such as UNLV, San Diego State and Hawaii Pacific.

On the mound, Aquino has emerged as Mililani's ace, having already posted a complete-game, nine-strikeout 3-1 win over perennial power Kamehameha in a preseason tournament. In his last 10 innings of work, Aquino has recorded 16 strikeouts, using a low-mid 80s fastball and a sweeping slider that has become his calling card.

In the field, the speedy shortstop bats leadoff for the Trojans, and seems to have a perpetual pass to first base. In that same win against the Warriors more than a week ago, Aquino went 3-for-3, registering all of his team's hits against ace David Parrow.

"Tony is a savvy player offensively," Sato said. "He has the versatility to play anywhere. Last year, he hit about .330 for us playing first base and shortstop, and didn't even get to pitch much. This year, he has a chance to be the guy on the mound."

Miyashiro returns after earning first-team OIA West and honorable mention all-state honors a year ago. The smooth-swinging left-hander is off to a hot start with the bat, having posted a 4-for-4 performance against Mid-Pacific, a 3-for-4 showing against Saint Louis and a homer against Kamehameha last week.

The 5-foot-11 center fielder provides much of the power for the Trojans lineup and also adds speed and a strong arm in the outfield.

As a sophomore pitcher, Miyashiro picked up four key wins during the regular season. In the same game, he went 4-for-4 against the Owls this year, Miyashiro started and earned the win on the hill, giving Mililani the Richard Kitamura Tournament title.


"Chaz can hit," Sato said. "But his biggest asset may be his speed. Whether he's on offense or defense, he can use his legs to help us win. He provides good coverage in the outfield and his tremendous jumps on the ball and his throwing arm keep people from taking the extra base.

"On the mound, Chaz is pretty tough. He throws in the low 80s and he has a good curveball and we can use him to close or start, or in middle relief."

Like Wal-Mart down the street, Sato displays his top two items in plain sight, batting Aquino and Miyashiro 1-2 in the hitting order.

"My Grandpa (Shigeru Watanabe) told me once that everybody wants to put their fastest runners, the guys who can work their way onto base for the other hitters at the top of the lineup," Sato said. "But my Grandpa told me it is always better to have your best and most powerful guys at the top, because they'll get up to the plate most often.

"And it's true, because after the first inning, your lead-off guy may never bat first the rest of the game."

Speaking to Aquino and Miyashiro it is also apparent that the only time the words flow freely is when they speak of their teammates and how this season is a decade in the making.

"It really helps us that we've played together for so long," Miyashiro said. "Me and Tony have played together since we were in Pinto's, and that was like when we were 8 years old. We've all known each other forever, and it helps to know what we can expect from each other, and what each other is going to do in the game."

Aquino beams when he speaks of the contributions of his younger teammates.

"Our underclassmen have been playing a big role," Aquino said. "Dustin (Antolin, a freshman) has been stepping up and so has Richie (sophomore Mariano). They're so young, but they've proven that they belong here on the varsity."

Both Aquino and Miyashiro have come quite a ways to become college prospects as seniors. Aquino has undergone a good amount of personal development as a player, while Miyashiro has traveled a long road as well.


For years, Miyashiro has made the commute from his home in Pupukea to Mililani, a daily trip he began as a youngster tagging along with his mother as she went to work in Waipahu.

"He's always gone to school and played ball in Mililani," Wilnette Miyashiro said of her son. "His dad was a fireman stationed at Sunset and his two siblings went to Kamehameha, so it made sense for him to come with me."

Aquino's growth has not gone unnoticed by Sato.

"Tony has improved 100 percent mentally as well as physically," Sato said. "He has made some big adjustments and has become so much of a better player."

With a tough preseason slate, which included participation in Iolani's Father Halter Tournament, the Kitamura Tournament and their own Glenn Nitta tourney, the Trojans still have one tuneup remaining before they open the league season against Waianae on Mar. 26.

The Trojans leave Friday for the 2005 Cleats National Invitational Tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., which will feature 16 teams from Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, California, Alaska, Florida and Mililani.

"This year things are different," Aquino said. "We expect to win and hopefully do well in the state playoffs. Last year we just tried to make the postseason. This year, we expect a lot more."

With Aquino and Miyashiro each providing outstanding two-for-one values, it seems as if the Mililani baseball program has found the best deal in town.

And it didn't come from Wal-Mart.

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