High school baseball: Waiakea’s Rosario soaks in Gatorade Hawaii player of year honor

  • Waiakea’s Kala’i Rosario heads for homebase for an easy score during Thursday’s game against Kamehameha, played at Wong Stadium. Photo: Tim Wright

It’s nearly impossible to get a curveball past Kala’i Rosario, who hits sneaky questions out of the park.

Asked who his favorite team is, the recent Waiakea graduate answered, “My favorite MLB team is the one that calls my name on draft day.”

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Does he drink Gatorade or water, which is free if you get it from home, Rosario quickly replied, “I drink both, gotta stay hydrated.”

His acute awareness is sharp and so is his bat, which along with his community service and academic work, earned Rosario the Gatorade Hawaii baseball player of the year award.

He’s the third Warrior to snag the award, following Kodi Medeiros, a 2014 graduate, and Onan Masaoka, a 1995 graduate.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound outfielder earned MVP honors at the national Under Armor 4th of July Classic and won the home run derby at the prestigious Area Code Games.

Rosario hit .343 with five home runs and 11 RBIs during BIIF play prior to the cancellation of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It means a lot to win this knowing there’s so much talent around the state,” he said. “I’m stocked that I got to represent my state and my hometown.”

Rosario has volunteered to raise funds to benefit homeless children and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He also graduated with a B average and signed with Cal Baptist.

“I enjoy helping others because I always remember I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the people who helped me throughout my entire life,” he said.

The five-round MLB draft will be held June 10-11. MLB scouts are keeping in touch with Rosario through Zoom and Lancers coach Gary Adcock is also checking in. His daily routine is filled with what he does best and what he enjoys.

“I hit every day in the morning, lift at 1 p.m. then go diving or to the beach,” he said.

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Maybe best of all, Rosario is aware of his impact on the next generation of Big Island talent.

“I won’t be the last because there is a lot of young talent and hopefully I showed them that they can do it if they put their mind to it,” he said.

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