To put it mildly, the University of Hawai‘i Baseball Rainbows had a very sad 2014 season. Stated more bluntly, it was one of the worst seasons in recent memory. The ’Bows ended the season with a 22-31 won-loss record, 6-18 in the Big West Conference — and they sat alone in the cellar.
There were a few bright spots, though, thanks to Rainbow starting pitchers Matt Cooper, Scott Kuzminski and Scott Squire, who accounted for 15 of their wins. Sadly, however, all three are gone — graduated or drafted.
The other bright spot that lit up Murakami Stadium, albeit only for a short while, was Marcus Miyoshi Doi. A freshman, Doi broke into Coach Mike Trapasso’s starting line-up and quickly showed that he could handle Division One pitching. He played like a veteran from the get-go, especially at the plate. Unfortunately, a nagging groin injury slowed him down and finally shut him down midway through the season. Until then, he was leading the team’s offense with 20 hits in 58 attempts — a very healthy .345 batting average.
The last four to five months have tested Marcus’ mettle and patience as he recuperated, rested and rehabbed. As any young athlete can tell you, patience is a hard thing to manage when you have been active and testing your limits all your life. Fortunately for Marcus, a scholar-athlete attending UH on both a baseball and honors scholarship, his R&R time away from the baseball diamond gave him valuable time to concentrate on his studies.
School and baseball have always been part and parcel of Marcus’ life. He began playing Little League baseball as a 5-year-old kindergartener at Mänoa Elementary School. The school and the adjacent ballparks were his playground. His father George Doi, a schoolteacher and athlete, was his first coach.
Marcus transferred to Mid-Pacific Institute for intermediate and high school. There, he entered the “Dunn Muramaru School of Baseball” and became one of Coach Dunn’s best.
He began his MPI playing days as a catcher in the seventh grade, then switched to the outfield in his freshman and sophomore years. In his junior and senior years at MPI, he returned to the catcher position. Marcus played other sports as well, including basketball, through his sophomore year. Since then, however, it’s been all baseball.
He led the MPI Owls from behind the plate. Many fans will remember MPI’s 2013 state championship team as one of the best ever. The season ended with the entire Owl infield — first baseman Daniel Fentriss, second baseman Quintin-John Collier, shortstop Isiah Kine-Falefa and third baseman Brent Sakurai, as well as pitcher Trey Saito and catcher Marcus Doi — receiving first team All-State honors, a first in Hawai‘i high school baseball history.
In that memorable championship game against Mililani, MPI was trailing 1-0 in the seventh and last inning. Then with two men on, Marcus came through with the big hit that scored both the tying and winning runs. What a way to finish his high school career!
The past few months have been trying, but Marcus recently got his doctor’s clearance that he is 100 percent good-to-go. He’s started his reconditioning program to get back into playing shape, although he’s never really been out of shape. But the 6-foot-tall, 195-pounder is excited about getting back out on the field.
He doesn’t expect to do any more catching at UH. During this past season, he played both in the infield (first and third base) and outfield. Coach Trapasso will undoubtedly find a position for him as long as he keeps up his hitting. Marcus knows that the bat is his ticket to the game. Someday, he hopes to follow in the steps of his idol, former Rainbow Kolten Wong, and play on the big stage.
He’s got a long ways to go, but he’ll keep looking up at the lights. And for at least two more years, Hawai‘i fans will be able to see him light up the Les Murakami Stadium once again.
Dr. Michael Okihiro is a retired Honolulu neurologist and a self-professed “baseball nut.”