A longtime Little League coach in Honolulu is fighting for the field he’s been coaching at for years after city officials notified him that the facility could no longer be used for games.
Gerald Oda has been with Honolulu Little League for 29 years, coaching youth baseball on the diamond at Kilauea District Park. Early last month, a city supervisor for the park told him that the field was designated exclusively for players up to 10 years of age, and players aged 11 to 13 could no longer use it for their games.
"This is the only Little League field in this entire area," Oda told Hawaii News Now, noting that he coached the 2018 Little League World Series championship team on the field and the city later dedicated it to the team.
"We're just trying to get it resolved so our kids and the community can play baseball here," Oda said.
Another issue the city has with the field are the foul balls that sometimes land on neighbors’ properties, to which Oda said he would gladly raise funds to pay for a bigger backstop that would keep foul balls on the field.
Kilauea District Park’s director eventually told Oda his players could use the diamond, but only for fielding drills. Batting practice wouldn’t be allowed, and neither would full ball games.
“Honolulu Little League may not be able to survive, because we need a field,” Oda said.
Hawaii News Now reached out to the mayor, who contradicted the parks department, saying he would override the decision and the city would address the foul ball issue.