Staff Blog
OIA Players of the Year did it all




The Oahu Interscholastic Association Division East Player of the Year was destined to be a Surfrider.

Pitcher and first baseman Joey Cantillo, Kailua High's senior ace and leading hitter, has been working out with coach Corey Ishigo since he was 11 years old.

"When he got to high school, he continued to attend every Sunday for our 2 p.m. NPA (National Pitching Association) pitching session to work on arm care, recovery, velocity, arm strength and mechanics," Ishigo said in an email. 

"He never did take off of work during the summer. This is when he has made the biggest gains to get stronger and to throw harder. During the summer months, Joey would workout with college players that wanted to improve as pitchers. We had a scheduled workout for them for five days a week.  Joey has been the hardest working player that I ever had here at Kailua. He sets goals and will not stop until he reaches them."

Indeed.

The Kentucky-bound and pro-pitching prospect went 5-0 with a 1.26 earned run average. He registered 65 strikeouts in 39 innings pitched.

At the plate, he batted a solid .519 with 20 RBI. He had two doubles, a triple and two home runs, putting him as one of the most dangerous hitters in the East.

Although postseason was not factored into his selection as East POY, he continuned to show his prowess. Although he did not figure in the pitching decision in an extra-inning OIA quarterfinal win against Pearl City, he did figure in the outcome, driving home tying runs in the bottom of the seventh to help his team stave off elimination from the championship bracket. Of course, he would drive in the winning run in the OIA title game against Campbell.

In the OIA West, the best might still be ahead of Campbell junior center fielder Nicholas Sampson.

He was instrumental in leading the Sabers to an undefeated regular season with his bat and defense.

"He had an outstanding year defensively as well displaying outstanding instincts and range," Campbell coach Rory Pico wrote in an email. "Not a very vocal player, Nicholas leads by example through his grinding work ethic and competitive spirit."

Sampson batted .486 and reached base in every game either by hit or a walk. He had 11 RBI with five doubles, two triples and a home run. He also stole six bases.

Waianae's two-way threat was center fielder and pitcher Braedyn Chong, the OIA Division II POY.

He hit .605 with 17 RBI. On the mound, he was 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 52 in 27 innings to an unbeaten season.



Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].




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