Stone Miyao waited for an opportunity, and when it came the UH-Manoa freshman knocked the ball all around Les Murakami Stadium and was fittingly recognized.
Miyao, a 2019 Waiakea graduate, earned his first Big West Conference player of the week honor after a career weekend against UC Davis when he batted .500 (9 for 18) in UH’s four wins over the Aggies.
“It feels great,” he said. “We got the series sweep. The whole team played well. We worked hard all week, stuck to the plan, and it paid off.”
He’s being rather modest. The only other Rainbow Warrior with his type of success against the Aggies was outfielder Adam Fogel, who hit .588 (10 for 17) with five runs scored and one RBI.
His competition at second base, Aaron Ujimori hit .273 (3 for 11) with three runs scored and one RBI.
Miyao had four runs scored, one homer, and seven RBIs. He hit his first homer, a two-run shot, in Saturday’s 7-2 win. He’s hitting .313 (21 of 67) for the season with five multihit efforts in his past six contests dating back to April 17.
He also played third base for the first time since his junior year at Waiakea, the home to UH teammates Safea Villaruz-Mauai, who’s batting .294 (15 for 51) as a true freshman, and Jacob Igawa, who’s hitting .284 (21 for 74).
UH coach Mike Trapasso needed someone at third base with injuries to Dustin Demeter and Matt Campos.
“It was fun,” Miyao said. “Coach Trap suggested it to me. We worked on it the day before the series and the day of the first game. I was glad to be on the field and get some wins.”
Miyao wasn’t perfect. He made two errors, but both were harmless and didn’t lead to any runs.
Despite his outburst of success, Miyao wasn’t promised any more playing time or even given a hint of that. But he played ball under his dad Lenn Miyao and for Kaha Wong, so their message is ingrained in him: no room for complaints, be a team player, and work harder.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “Whatever is best for the team I’ll do it. I’ll play wherever they need me to play.”
When he sat on the bench while Ujimori played ahead of him, Miyao took the Big Island motto to heart.
“It wasn’t too bad,” he said. “I kept working hard and waited for an opportunity. It was about being a good teammate. I wasn’t worried about that (more playing time).”
Besides Miyao is from Hilo and has gone fishing. He knows the key to fishing is related to his situation at UH.
“It’s patience,” he said. “I’d go fishing once in a while.”
The Rainbows (20-14, 12-12 Big West) have won four in a row and next play a six-game series against Cal State Fullerton, starting at 2 pm. Friday.
UH is fifth in the Big West, right behind the Titans, who split a four-game series against CSUN. (Cal State Northridge prefers the acronym.)
“We’re doing great,” Miyao said. “We go out the same way, practice hard and work hard. Everyone works hard and buys in. Everyone wants to win.”
Despite his terrific weekend, Miyao remains modest, feet firmly planted on the ground. Asked if he got text messages from back home, he was his typical self.
“I got a couple, congratulating me,” he said. “Not too much.”
Well, Stone, your name is in the paper for your first Big West player of the week award, so congratulations.