BYU Bound: Paragas Commits to the BIG12

The Waianae Coast on Oahu is one of the best sunsets in the world. Glassy waves crash the shore under sherbet lit skies as the sun greets the horizon. People, both local and tourist, flock to the shoreline to catch one of nature's daily phenomenons. It's easy to see why many locals have a tough time leaving. However, venture a bit into the valley and you'll catch the scent of hot leather with sound of a popping mitt. Sal Paragas crouches behind an old Morey boogie board with a catchers mask on as his son Blade fires in his 90+ mph fastball off of their homemade mound (mom films from behind the mound). The emerging Ace of the State, Blade is preparing to lead his varsity team to a state title. 

However, this is familiar territory for  him as he's pitched his school to a championship before.  "Kid was  popping the ball ,"  Hawaii Tigers General  Manager , Reid Nomura recalls.  "We played them 2 weeks before COVID shut the entire  season down  and I remember thinking this kid is throwing some gas for 8th grade! It was 79-80 MPH."  Kamehameha was declared the intermediate champions that year  and when COVID shutdown  school athletics  the Nomura's stepped up and started running workouts to help players stay in shape.  Nomura recalls how "it was a  tough time for the players and we were just happy to help them stay in shape." When a tournament was put on by Dustin Shindo, the Nomuras hopped on the opportunity to enter a team and start up Hawaii Tigers. "I remember looking at our list of players with Coach Ron and Coach Rick and we all agreed we needed to carry another pitcher." Reid Nomura recalled. "Blade was a little young for the tournament but I remember trying to find him on instagram so we could message him. I liked the way he came after our Punahou hitters during the season and knew he wouldn't back down against older competition."

Blade replied to the message and hopped on the opportunity to play with Hawaii Tigers. Prior to the tournament the Tigers lined up a slate of scrimmages with some older teams, one being Hawaii Elite 2G. Nomura recalls Blade's pitching performance against Hawaii Elite, "this game was an amazing opportunity for our players (especially Blade) because all of the players were varsity aged and they were coached by Kamehameha varsity coaches. I remember Blade got hit hard by their number 3 hitter but came right back with the fastball against the #4 hitter. That was when the whole dugout went IS THAT BLADE??!" Blade ended up getting out of the inning with limited damage and immediately put himself on the radar with Kamehameha and Hawaii Elite 2G."

Fast-forward a few years and Blade continues to work hard. His fastball now sits in the 90s and he's committed to Brigham Young University. He's also pitched Kamehameha to a Varsity State Championship. Congratulations Blade Paragas!