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Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian

Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian


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Crusader Alum Agbayani is the new face on the diamond for Crusader Baseball


Baseball is back and the Crusaders have a new man running the bullpen. Benny Agbayani, a Crusader alum, looks to take a talented team back to the “promised land.”

The Crusaders are coming off of a stellar season, finishing as consolation champs in the state tournament. With Agbayani’s experience and expertise, the Crusaders look to capture the ILH and HHSAA championship.

Agbayani has always been connected to Saint Louis. Even after graduating in 1989, he continues to  keep the Crusader spirit. Agbayani was inducted into the HHSAA Hall of Honor in 1989. This is an annual group of student athletes that are recognized for athletic excellence, academic success, and giving back to the community. Agbayani proceeded to enroll at Hawaii Pacific University and made an instant impact for the Sharks. To this day, Agbayani remains in the record books for HPU. His greatest achievement while playing for the Sharks is being named to the All-American First Team in 1993. He was also the first player in HPU Baseball history to be drafted to the major leagues.

After being drafted into the MLB and playing for several teams, Agbayani retired from professional baseball in 2009. He returned home to be around his family and to start coaching his children. Before taking the coaching position for the Crusaders, Agbayani was the head coach for the Iolani softball team. He helped the Raiders garner the state championship in 2019. Now as he returns to coach at his alma mater, Agbayani’s top priority is to win the school’s first state championship in ten years.

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This year’s team has a mix of veteran savvy and underclassmen talent. “This year we have a lot of talent, we just need to put all the pieces together,” said senior captain Sean Yamaguchi. “Every year is different and I’m pretty sure a lot of people will count Saint Louis out this year. That’s a good thing in my opinion. We are a team who wants to work hard when nobody is watching and prove ourselves on the field.” Yamaguchi is coming off a stellar junior year, earning All-ILH first team and All-State honorable mention honors. “With the new coaching change and me being the team captain nothing will change,” Yamaguchi continued. “My job is to make sure everyone embraces the change in a positive way and our goal of winning a state championship doesn’t change.”   

Although the senior class is filled with multiple division one recruits, the junior class is looking to be a big part of this year’s team. Lincoln Pang, one of the Crusaders’ pitchers, has big plans for this year. “My biggest goal for this year is to play with heart and not care about stats,” said Pang. “I have to notice what’s hurting me, what’s making myself better, and build from there. It all starts with finding a routine that works for me.” 

Another junior pitcher on the team is no stranger to Coach Agbayani. La’akea Correa was coached by Agbayani when he was four years old. He learned a lot of his basic skills and mechanics from Agbayani. “He made me develop some good habits and learned that if you want to get better and get to the next level then you have to work when no one else is watching. When people are watching, that is your time to shine,” said Correa. “Just getting better 1% everyday is the key to success.” There are many cases like Correa where Coach Agbayani mentored players at a young age. After returning from playing professional baseball, he wanted to give back to the kids with big aspirations.

Agbayani wants to change the culture of Crusader Baseball. He plans on making the program align to when he was playing. This includes doing crusader jumping jacks before games and singing the alma mater on the bus back to school, celebrating the pride associated with Saint Louis Baseball. 

As the season approaches, the Crusaders may be the biggest question mark in the ILH. Opponents have little knowledge of what the Crusaders will be like this year, and Saint Louis players have no problem with keeping it that way. While people are focused on the other schools in the league, the team will look to slowly climb the rankings. The school may be known as a football powerhouse; but with the recent rise of basketball, volleyball, and track, it is now Crusader baseball’s time to succeed.

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