Honolulu Little League team receives Parade of Champions festivities
A portion of downtown Honolulu closed Thursday afternoon for what Mayor Rick Blangiardi dubbed the Parade of Champions.
Held in celebration of the Honolulu Little League World Series Champions, the parade featured other state champions, like the 2022 Damien Monarchs Div. II State Baseball champions and the 2022 Maryknoll Div. I State Softball champions.
This is Hawaiʻi’s fourth Little League World Series win, and past winners from 2018 and 2005 marched alongside the current title holders.
Fans like Isaiah Mora, Keahi Carlos and Kainani Yoshida Carlos held baseballs hoping for autographs.
“We came here to see the little league parade because a lot of us watched like every single game,” Isaiah said. He looked forward to seeing pitcher Jaron Lancaster. “You never see a person hit such far home runs or pitch so good,” he said. “(Jaron) sets a lot of records.”
The parade was also a special moment for family members.
Wayne Kuroda set up outside of Central Pacific Bank on King Street. His grandson, outfielder Kama Angell, made the game-winning RBI during the world series.
“Before he left, he goes, ‘Papa, I’m going to the World Series,’” Kuroda recalled. “They had to go to all these finals and stuff, yeah? And then (he said), 'I'm closer to my dream,' and he got it.”
Kuroda traveled to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to watch the team’s historic, dominant run.
“When they won, he said ‘I got it, Papa,’” Kuroda said. “He did so awesome.”
The parade culminated with a party of live music and food at Honolulu Hale, where Mayor Rick Blangiardi honored the teams with proclamations and authentic Louisville sluggers.
“These guys are world champions, so I just want to simply say there isn't a city in the world that would love to be where we are today with these young men,” Blangiardi said.
The mayor honored the team’s manager Gerald Oda with a key to the City and County of Honolulu.
“This one goes to coach Oda for making this state and all of us so incredibly proud, but more than anything, the coaching job with these young men and what they've experienced, I can promise you will last a lifetime,” Blangiardi said.
Oda beamed with a smile Thursday, thanking supporters.
“All the love and support that we got, while we were playing in a World Series was definitely felt as players and as coaches, we did our best, to really become ambassadors of aloha and show the world that aloha is not just a word,” Oda said.
This win marks Oda’s second Little League World Championship.
“We have a lot of great youth in Hawaiʻi, and not just great baseball players, but I think these are going to be great men someday.”