BIIF baseball: Kurosawa exits as Waiakea coach

  • TIM WRIGHT/Tribune-Herald Waiakea's next baseball coach will inherit a talented roster that includes Kalai Rosario, seen here scoring a run against Hilo during the 2019 BIIF regular season at Wong Stadium. Eric Kurosawa said Wednesday he'd resigned after one season as coach.

Waiakea High not only offers one of the top baseball coaching positions in the state, but also one of the more volatile ones, if the turnover through the years is any indication.

Eric Kurosawa said Wednesday he resigned after one season on the job that saw the Warriors reach the HHSAA tournament for the 17th consecutive season, but he declined to go into further detail.

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Earlier in the day, Warriors athletic director Tommy Correa emailed the media to advertise that applications were being accepted for the position. Correa confirmed Kurosawa was no longer the coach but declined further comment.

Kurosawa took over after Rory Inouye stepped down after a four-year stint that included consecutive runner-up finishes at the state tournament in 2017 and ‘18.

Under the guidance of Kurosawa, a longtime Hilo hitting instructor with strong ties to the youth baseball community, Waiakea defeated Hilo twice during the regular season but was swept by the Vikings in the BIIF Division I championship series. The Warriors beat Leilehua in a state play-in game and won a first-round game against Saint Louis on Maui before losing to Baldwin in the state quarterfinals, finishing 15-4.

Whoever takes over for Kurosawa will be Waiakea’s sixth coach since 2011, the final year of Gordon Mau’s tenure. Kevin Yee coached the Warriors to 2012 state title and left after the 2013 season, then Jensen Sato coached the program for a season.

As usual, the Warriors’ next coach will inherit a roster ready-made for BIIF success, headlined by a pair of major league draft prospects entering their senior seasons, outfielder Kala’i Rosario and infielder Safea Mauai.

There has been shortage of turnover in the coaching ranks at Waiakea in 2019.

The baseball opening comes a few days after the school stopped accepting applications for it girls soccer and softball coaching positions.

Girls soccer coach Erick Lemus told the Tribune-Herald he stepped down after one season to continue his college coaching career on the mainland, and softball coach Bo Correa told the Tribune-Herald last month he had been let go after 14 seasons and nine BIIF titles.

Also, Correa said Wednesday he wasn’t able to confirm if the school had hired a girls basketball coach. On June 12, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the new coach was Alika Smith, who previoiusly led Kalaheo to three state boys basketball crowns on Oahu. Smith and Correa declined to elaborate in that story, but the Star-Advertiser reported Warriors co-captains Kelsie Imai, Keeli-Jade Smith and Bethany Honma had met their new coach.

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That position came open when Brandon Kauhi was ousted shortly after leading the Warriors to their first BIIF Division I title since 2008.

Applications for the baseball position are available from the school’s main office during business hours and are being accepted through Aug. 15. Candidates are required to pass a Department of Education criminal background check prior. For more information on applying for the baseball job, contact Correa at 974-4830.

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