Pearl City's Chevas Numata, the Position Player of the Year, and Saint Louis' Kalei Contrades, the Pitcher of the Year, both were dual threats who gave opposing pitchers and batters fits
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 05, 2011
On paper, there's not much to distinguish Kalei Contrades from Chevas Numata.
They performed in the clutch as ace pitchers for their teams. Both were prolific hitters who played third base when they weren't on the mound. In each personality, a subdued, fierce will to win that was more about action than talk.
So it is only fitting that coaches and media voted the two to the top honors in this year's Star-Advertiser Baseball All-State team. Numata, the power-hitting ace and cornerman of Pearl City's state championship run, was voted position player of the year.
Contrades, who helped lead Saint Louis to its second league crown in a row, was voted pitcher of the year.
Numata, with a stocky, Bob Horner physique and power to match, hit .404 (19-for-47) with four home runs. He was brilliantly productive in key situations, driving in 24 runs. He scored 11 times and had an on-base percentage of .500. During the state tourney, he hit 4-for-9 with two homers, a double, and scored four runs. Of course, there was the state final against Moanalua, a 2-1 win that featured Numata at his best on the hill: one run, four hits, six strikeouts and just one walk for a complete-game win.
Numata was one of many players in the Oahu Interscholastic Association who impressed Saint Louis coach George Gusman, a 16-year veteran of coaching in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
"Chevy was on fire in the OIA playoffs and states," he said. "Without him, they would not have won. He got hot and he was dangerous every time he came to the plate."
Contrades is a workaholic who showed up at every opportunity to work on his pitching and hitting. Sometimes it was at teammate Derek Nakasato's home batting cage in Kaneohe — no small trek for an Ewa Beach resident. Other times, it was an informal team hitting workout at Saint Louis, another haul over miles of pavement. For Contrades, the payoff was worthwhile.
The senior went 5-2 with a 2.22 ERA in the rugged ILH. In 41 innings, the right-hander struck out 48 batters and walked only 15. He surrendered just 35 base hits.
"I found the pitches I could throw and it helped having the slider sort of like a sinker-slash-slider. I call it a slurve," said Contrades, who will play at San Jose State next season. "It has a little bite and keeps batters off-balance."
Combined with his firepower at the plate, he was one of the best combo players in recent memory. Contrades batted .458 (22-for-48) with 18 RBIs, 10 runs and three homers. His slugging percentage was .771.
"I stayed more composed and relaxed this year. I was more selective about pitches," he said. "When I loaded, I shortened up my swing and used more of my hips. My bat was more accurate and I caught the ball more square."
Contrades praised Numata.
"Chevas took his team farther than I did. We kind of ended short in the states, so he deserved being (position) player of the year," Contrades said.
"I feel good. It's an honor to get this," said Numata, who is headed to Southern Nevada Community College, said. "Kalei's a good player with choke power, good pitching. He's pretty fast, too. I'm not that fast."
Pearl City's first state baseball title still has the community abuzz.
"People telling you, ‘Congratulations and stuff,' it's a good feeling," Numata said. "I stayed within myself, don't try too hard, don't try for the fences. My dad changed up my hands and simple stuff a little bit, brought them down. Pitching was about working on my slurve before, but this season, I worked more on my 12/6."
The coach of the year honor went to Yamato, who was a junior varsity coach before taking the helm at Pearl City this season. Yamato played for Gusman back in the 1980s.
"Mitch played for me when he was 13 for Pearl City's Little League Juniors team," Gusman recalled. "He played with my son (George Jr.) later in Big League ball. It's pretty exciting to see someone come up through the ranks and have success. It's exciting. It's pretty neat."
2011 STAR-ADVERTISER ALL-STATE BASEBALL TEAMSelected by coaches and media
Pitcher of the Year
Position Player of the Year
Coach of the Year