Jason Akana, a former TriTown American Legion baseball standout, was named recently to take over the coaching reins of the TriTown American Legion Sr. baseball program, according to Executive Committee chairman Ronald P. Coderre.
“We feel we’ve been fortunate to find the right person to take over our program.  Jason Akana is a quality person with great baseball knowledge and a love of the game.  It’s the committee’s feeling that he is able to impart the values of American Legion baseball on and off the field to the young men in his charge,” said Coderre
When it comes to baseball knowledge, the 45-year-old Akana is a giant.  As a player in high school and college, he’s always had to battle for the right to prove himself despite his size. Akana has succeeded and surpassed expectation at all levels.
Akana not only brings a solid playing resumes to his new position, he’s also enjoyed success as a coach along the way.  He’s served as a coach for many years in the Thompson Little League and organized coaching clinics in Thompson.  He’s also served as the TriTown assistant coach for the past two seasons.
A 1991 graduate of Tourtellotte Memorial High School, he played three years of varsity baseball as a middle infielder for legendary coach Tom Auclair.  He also enjoyed three summers on the diamond as a player for Auclair with the TriTown American Legion program.
“Playing for coach Auclair provided me with the solid fundamentals of the game.  Many of the techniques and basics of the game that I espouse and teach were gained during my high school and Legion years,” said Akana.
“My goal is to transfer the knowledge I have of the game to my players.  I want to instill a winning attitude on and off the field in these young men.  I’m hoping to improve on our wins and losses but most of all I want them to learn and master the nuances of the game,” concluded Akana.
As a baseball fundamentalist, Akana expects his players give 110 percent effort.  A taskmaster for the little details that make the difference, his philosophy is work hard, practice hard and the wins will come.  This is a philosophy he learned playing for his earliest coach, his dad, Michael Akana.
In addition to coach Auclair, Akana played briefly at Eastern Connecticut State University for coach Bill Holowaty and one year at Manchester Community College, where the team went to the National Junior College World Series before bowing out in the championship game.
Akana enjoyed his greatest success on the collegiate level at Worcester State University where he played for coach Dirk Baker.  In three seasons with the Lancers he achieved significant success, eventually emerging as the leading Div. III hitter in the nation with a .514 batting average, which coincidentally was tops in the country on all NCAA levels.  He also enjoyed a brief stint in professional baseball with the Meridian Brakemen in the Big South Independent League in Mississippi.
“In all my years in baseball I’ve learned you have to respect your opponent.  In so doing you push yourself to do better in all aspect of the game.  I hope to infuse this respect in the TriTown program,” said Akana.
Akana inherits a good group of returning players from his predecessor John Foucault.  The Towners are returning the majority of last season’s team and a good crop of players ready to make the jump from the Jr. to the Sr. level.
Akana and his wife of 20 years Christie live in Thompson.  The couple have three children, Kobe, 17, a senior in high school; Brayden, 14, an 8th grader; and 10-year-old Grace.  Akana’s employed as a health and safety engineer in the bio-tech industry in Worcester.

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