Baseball: Hilo high school standouts part of Hawaii World Series at Wong

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Hilo (17)

Waiakea’s Kala’i Rosario and Safea Mauai and Hilo’s Maui Ahuna, along with the best baseball talent from around the state, will compete at the Hawaii World Series, a last-minute shopping venue for MLB scouts and collegiate coaches.

The inaugural tournament will be held Friday through Sunday at Wong Stadium, where teams from the Big Island, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai will compete for the unofficial title of state’s best.

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From his intel with scouts, Kaha Wong suggests Rosario could get drafted in the first or second round, and Mauai and Ahuna anywhere in the first 10 rounds.

There will be about 12 to 15 scouts and 15 colleges attending, probably more with late-minute arrivals. Wong is being an accommodating host with two scouts staying at his place.

“The top players in the state can get together, and the scouts can get one last look at them before the Christmas break,” Wong said. It’ll be the first time we’ll get three kids drafted from Hilo. It not only helps out Hilo, but it’s good for the state. I’ve got a lot of young kids coming up.”

Rosario, Mauai, and Ahuna all hold draft leverage because each has signed college scholarships: Rosario to Cal State Baptist, Mauai to UH-Manoa, and Ahuna to Kansas.

The MLB draft will be held June 10-12, 2020 in Omaha, Neb., and start on a Wednesday, two days before the College World Series.

In the 2019 draft, the New York Yankees selected Edgar Barclay, a St. Joseph graduate, in the 15th round. In the 2018 draft, the Milwaukee Brewers picked Micah Bello, a Hilo graduate, in the second round.

They join Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals, Kean Wong, San Francisco Giants, Kodi Medeiros, Chicago White Sox, Quintin Torres-Costa, Brewers, Joey Jarneski, Texas Rangers, and Jodd Carter, Cleveland Indians, in the pro ranks.

All of the players have been influenced by Kaha Wong.

The Wong brothers are home and work out in the morning at their dad’s hitting cage, across from the Hilo Bike Hub on Makaala Street.

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The number of Hilo players in pro ball will likely grow, and the shopping season for MLB scouts and colleges starts this weekend.

For more information, visit hiworldseries.com.

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