Team Honolulu captured the 2022 Little League World Series (LLWS) championship game, 13-3, over Curaçao, August 28 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The team’s manager, Gerald Oda, is a 1997 University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate in political science. Oda was also the manager when his Honolulu team won the LLWS championship in 2018.
After the 2022 win, Oda said he was “extremely blessed and grateful for this opportunity.”
“After 2018, [I thought] the next time I would come to Williamsport would be as a spectator, supporting another team. We’re fortunate enough to have had great kids in our league this year. It’s a long journey. It’s going from districts, going on to the regionals and here, and anything can happen. As we progressed, the kids really started gelling and playing well together. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be back in 2022 coaching a team,” Oda said.
Oda’s team outscored opponents in the LLWS, 60-5, over six games. The West Region champions defeated the Southeast Region representative from Nolensville, Tennessee, 5-1, in the U.S. Championship on August 27, which got them into the LLWS final.
UH baseball Head Coach Rich Hill said, “What these kids and coaches accomplished is unreal! The teamwork and spirit of Aloha displayed are what youth sports are all about. Their accomplishment represents a passionate baseball community here in Hawaiʻi!”
The 2022 championship marked the fourth LLWS victory for a team from Hawaiʻi. The ʻEwa Beach team won the title in 2005 and the Waipiʻo team brought home the championship in 2008. Among the players on those teams included former Rainbow Warrior baseball players Kaeo Aliviado (2005, ʻEwa Beach) and Jedd Andrade (2008, Waipiʻo).
“[This year’s team members] are rockstars of this year’s Little League World Series tournament. They’re the face of Little League baseball,” Aliviado said. “To see them compete and to see them dominate is pretty unreal. From hitting, pitching to playing defense, they pretty much have the whole package. That’s hard to find as a Little League team, a 12-year-old team that’s just dominating like that.”
Like the 2022 team, Aliviado’s ʻEwa Beach team defeated Curaçao in the final, 7-6.
“The love that the little town in Williamsport, Pennsylvania gives you—it really feeds off of your energy,” Aliviado said. “Once you step foot on that ground, you really made it to the promised land as a 12-year-old kid in the Little League World Series. You’re playing on the biggest stage for that tournament. You’re going to be on ESPN every day. They just treat you like professional rockstars.”
Aliviado added, “You never know what the other states might bring, but we always know that Hawaiʻi will bring something special to the table every time we get a chance to go to Williamsport.”