Tuesday | October 17, 2017
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UH intent on continuing Big Isle pipeline

The University of Hawaii baseball team will hold a camp in Hilo for the third straight time, looking to hit a homer like last year.

That’s when the Rainbows saw Kodi Medeiros up close at the two-day camp. They admired the left-hander’s pitching arsenal and offered the then-Waiakea sophomore a scholarship.

Six months later, he threw an inning to combine with Quintin Torres-Costa on a no-hitter as Waiakea beat Baldwin 5-2 in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I state tournament championship at Les Murakami Stadium.

Should the ball roll in good fortune for the Rainbows, they could have Torres-Costa, Kean Wong, Chayce Kaaua and Medeiros all on the same roster in 2015. They were key parts on the Hilo Senior League World Series championship squad in 2011.

Wong, a Waiakea catcher, and Kaaua, a Hilo shortstop, signed their National Letters of Intent with UH on Wednesday. However, most scouts predict a major league team will pick Wong, projected to play third base or outfield at the pro level, in the first five rounds of the Major League Baseball draft in June.

At the camp, Torres-Costa, a 2012 Waiakea graduate, will be a featured clinican, along with the Rainbow coaching staff.

The UH camp will conduct its mandated NCAA time on fundamentals. Then the real fun begins. There will be games and a pro-style showcase (with events like the 60-yard dash) that colleges and MLB teams use to categorize prospects.

UH coach Mike Trapasso isn’t allowed to comment on any player until the school receives a signed letter of intent from that athlete. Under the penalty of sanctions, Trapasso must also be generic in any statement about the camp.

“The Big Island kids will be able to meet our staff and get to know us. We’ll go there mostly to have fun,” he said. “We’ll work hard on instruction. With the Big Island players, it’s a way to give back and keep relationships going with the players on the Big Island.”

The UH camp is much like the college football camps held during the summer. It’s a way to scout the best homegrown talent and discover a diamond at your doorstep, like Medeiros. The mining of talent has already produced Kolten Wong and opened a Big Island pipeline.

The Rainbows are looking for the next Kolten Wong, Kean Wong, Torres-Costa, Kaaua or Medeiros.

They’ll have no shortage of evaluation periods. After the camp, Big Island Wooden Bat League coordinator Kaha Wong will host an all-star game. That’s another chance for UH to see the island’s top players.

Then Kaha Wong will help run the Hilo College Camp for the second straight year. It’s 18 colleges on a scouting mission, looking to hand out scholarships. The Rainbows will also be there.

All-star game

The Big Island Wooden Bat League will hold an all-star game at 5 p.m. Sunday at Wong Stadium following the Rainbow baseball camp. Like last year, it will be an exhibition game between players from East Hawaii against a West Hawaii ballclub.

It’s another scouting opportunity for the Rainbows and another talent audition for Big Island players.

“It’s a good experience for coach Trap and coach Chad (Konishi) to see that we do have talent on the Big Island that’s just as good or better than the mainland,” Torres-Costa said. “It’s also cheaper for us to recruit kids from here. It shows that Hawaii has talent and the kids will learn what we do at UH, what tools they need to work on to get better.

“There are kids who can play Division I. Hawaii has talent. We just have to get more exposure.”

Hilo College Camp

The abdacademy.com’s second annual Hilo College Camp, which will feature 18 colleges, will take place Dec. 10 and 11 at Hilo’s Wong Stadium.

Division I schools there include Hawaii and Temple; Division II members UH-Hilo, Hawaii Pacific, Holy Names (Calif.) and St. Martin’s (Wash.); and Division III colleges Stevens (N.Y.), Pacific (Ore.) and Puget Sound (Wash.), where 2003 Waiakea graduate Kainoa Correa is the recruiting coordinator.

NAIA schools Arizona Christian and La Sierra (Calif.) along with junior colleges Arizona Western, Cedar Valley (Texas), Chemeketa (Ore.), Colorado Northwestern, Howard (Texas), Southern Eastern Iowa and Southern Nevada will also attend.

For more information on the camp, call Kaha Wong at 895-4595.