by Renelaine Pfister
HNL Ballpark Batting Cages opened in Honolulu last month, August 14th.
It features an Iron Mike pitching machine that pitches baseballs, a Baseball Hack Attack pitching machine and a Softball Hack Attack pitching machine which can be set to pitch to Slow Pitch Softball athletes. Additionally, they have a golf simulator room and a putting green, and even a golf professional available for private lessons.
The owners, Darwin Nazarino and his wife Ava wanted to open a batting cage facility where all are welcome. Darwin says, “We want to entice all of Hawaii to learn about the game of baseball and show how it can open up opportunities for higher education, a fit lifestyle, and promote a great family experience.”
Darwin comes from a family who loves sports. His parents were born and raised in Honolulu and Waipahu, but their Filipino roots are from Cebu and Siquijor. His family especially loves baseball; Darwin started playing when he was only five years old.
Baseball opened up many opportunities for Darwin in terms of education, traveling and relationships. It helped him build his mental strength and character while keeping him active and fit.
“A few of us made it to the Division 1 college ranks. We want more of our family members to continue the tradition of using sports as a platform to earn a college education, or maybe even turn pro,” he said.
In college, Darwin played for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Baseball team from 1995 to 1997.
In 1997, he transferred to play baseball for the University of San Francisco Dons, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Sports Science with an Emphasis in Pre-Occupational Therapy.
Darwin has been a teacher for the last 21 years. He currently teaches P.E. part time at St. Louis School, and umpires for the Interscholastic League o Honolulu and Oahu Interscholastic Association baseball leagues, the Hawaii Kai Youth Baseball league, and KAC Baseball Youth league.
In line with his passion for teaching and for his new business, a baseball clinic was held last month, where UH Rainbow Warriors baseball players served as coaches. They plan to hold more clinics, including one for softball, and do private lessons for both baseball and softball.
In addition to athletic training, HNL Ballpark Batting Cages also sells baseball/softball cleats and turf shoes and apparel.
People of all ages can enjoy what they offer, from beginner athletes to couples, little leaguers, adults to makule (seniors), professional baseball, softball, and golf athletes.
“I hope to have all of Hawaii enjoy a new way of staying in shape by hitting balls (baseball, softball, golf). We also want our customers to create fun memories time and time again,” Darwin said.
COVID-19 has been a challenge to starting a new business, but they sanitize their equipment frequently and do COVID-19 screening for all customers.
Darwin remarks, “We created this business for our generation and next generations to learn the game of baseball, and embrace all of the opportunities that can open up for their futures.”
HNL Ballpark Batting Cages is open daily from 2 to 8pm and is located at 2290 Alahao Pl., Unit 402 in Honolulu. For inquiries, call (808) 742-00058 or (808) 724-4328, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Renelaine Pfister