Double major for Honokaa’s Shiraki
It’s not that scoring goals ever got old, but after playing soccer most of her life, Allie Shiraki needed something new.
She found her passion on the softball field at Honokaa High, and it wasn’t long before she became determined to the play the sport at the next level.
“I was actually just thinking of softball,” she said.
But her resumé was too good for the coaches at Benedictine University to pass up.
A two-sport standout with the Dragons, Shiraki will try to do the same with the Eagles on an athletic and academic scholarship covering 65 percent of her tuition, room and board.
Shiraki, whose grade point average in high school was between 3.5 and 4.0, is once again ready for something new. She’s never been to the NAIA school’s campus in Lisle, Ill., which is approximately 25 miles to the west of Chicago.
“I’m going in kind of blind,” she said, “but I wanted to take an adventure across the U.S.”
At Shiraki’s recruiting profile on the National Collegiate Scouting Association website, it’s easy to see what her favorite sport is. The majority of the page lists her accomplishments in softball, where she was a four-time first-team All-Big Island Interscholastic Federation selection.
Tucked in the right-hand corner are her accolades in soccer, a sport in which she made All-BIIF three times.
After committing to Benedictine to play softball, her coach thought she’d be a good fit for the soccer program, and those coaches agreed as well.
“I’m probably still better at soccer. They like my versatility,” she said. “I’ve been playing softball a shorter amount of time and have had less time to pick up bad habits. I’d say they like that I’m fast.”
In soccer, she made a good habit of using her powerful legs to score goals in bunches. Last season, the Dragons often had trouble connecting passes and creating an offensive rush, but Shiraki scored 14 goals, many from long range, as a midfielder to help carry Honokaa to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament.
Shiraki also got a stint as a place-kicker on the Dragons’ football team last fall, but her heart is in softball.
Honokaa coach Wesley Fujimoto says Shiraki will become the second Dragon during his six seasons to play in college. He saw her raw potential as a freshman than watched her blossom into a patient leadoff hitter and five-tool player in center field who hit .472 as a senior.
“She’s improved quite a bit and really picked it up her junior season,” Fujimoto said. “She’s got a lot more to learn. Right now, for here, you’re good, but when you go to the mainland, you’re just a number. There will be a lot more developed players.
“She going to have to listen to the coaches and do a lot of work on her own.”
Shiraki, who plans to major in health science and is interested in orthopedic surgery, turned down two other offers in choosing Benedictine.
She said the Eagles have a large group of incoming freshmen, but she noted a graduating senior left an starting spot up for grabs in the outfield.
“A lot of my people (in college) tell me it’s fun to get away,” she said. “But I’m sure I’ll start to miss home.”
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