Alhambra High School baseball coach Steve Gewecke has spent the last five summers coaching the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League.
In his time there, Gewecke struck up a friendship with Shannon Hirai, the head baseball coach at Kalani High in Honolulu. Hirai joined Gewecke’s staff three years ago, and there was talk about Hirai bringing his high school baseball team to the mainland. Hirai’s team came to the states three years ago and took part in a tournament in Las Vegas.
This week, Hirai’s team is back in the states, and Gewecke wanted to give the squad a true local experience during its weeklong stay.
Gewecke met the team at LAX on Saturday morning at 6. That day, the Kalani baseball team and its staff went to Magic Mountain and visited a former teammate of theirs playing at Cal State Northridge.
Of course, no trip to California is complete without a stop at In-N-Out, a tour of Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all this before Kalani and Alhambra square off in a doubleheader today at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Moor Field.
The more competitive game should be the second one, in which Gewecke said he’ll spread the pitching, at-bats and playing time around. When the game ends, 55 cheeseburgers from The Hat in Alhambra will be waiting for both teams. Corky Conzonire, a 1960 Alhambra graduate, is the owner and gladly stepped in to help.
“I’m trying to be a good host,” quipped Gewecke.
“We wanted this to be a really good experience for them.”
Gewecke sees some similarities between Kalani and Alhambra.
“They have a lot of the same kind of guys as us,” Gewecke said. “They play a lot of hit-and-run, they’re aggressive.”
The plan to bring Kalani has been in the works for two years. Kalani will also play against Monrovia on Wednesday and Beverly Hills on Thursday before heading to Vegas for two more games before heading home.