Moloka'i's Rawlins says he'll sign with Rainbows
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
The University of Hawai'i baseball team is expected to land its biggest recruit literally and figuratively tomorrow, the first day of the week-long early signing period.
Moloka'i High pitcher/first baseman Keahi Rawlins said yesterday he will accept a scholarship to play for the Rainbows. Among class of 2002 high school prospects, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound right-hander is ranked 126th by Prospects Plus scouting service's list of 300 prospects. He is the only Hawai'i senior ranked in the top 300.
Rawlins, who said he is being recruited as a pitcher, said he liked that new UH coach Mike Trapasso has a strong pitching background.
"He was a pitching coach, so he sees the game the way (pitchers) see the game," Rawlins said. "He understands the game from a pitcher's point of view."
But because Rawlins is a pro prospect, there is a chance he could get picked in the June first-year player draft.
"I think I'll go to college first, but it depends on the rounds," Rawlins said if he gets drafted.
Rawlins is the first major prospect to verbally commit to UH since C.C. Sabathia did in 1998. Sabathia signed a college letter of intent, but signed with the Cleveland Indians, who made him the 20th overall selection that year. Yesterday, Sabathia was runner-up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Rawlins said he took a recruiting trip to UH on Friday "for a couple of hours." He added that Arizona State and Florida State had been writing him, but neither had made an offer.
Rawlins has happy memories of Rainbow Stadium. As a freshman, he slugged a two-run home run over the left-center field fence that helped the Farmers to their first of two consecutive state baseball titles in 1999.
During the summer, Rawlins played for West O'ahu and played games at UH and Reno, Nev. He also played in the Area Code Games for a team sponsored by the Texas Rangers.
Rawlins, a Maui Interscholastic League second-team all-star last year, is the third Hawai'i player to verbally commit for the early signing period. Mid-Pacific all-state second baseman Isaac Omura and MPI catcher Matt Inouye earlier said they will sign with UH.
Iolani all-state designated hitter Kila Ka'aihue also verbally committed for the early period, saying he will sign with Nebraska.
* Indicates WAC series
All times Hawai'i
26Alumni Game, 1 p.m. 30Florida State, 6:35 p.m. 31Florida State, 6:35 p.m.
1Florida State, 6:35 p.m. 2Florida State, 12:05 p.m. 8Sacramento State, 6:35 p.m. 9Sacramento State, 6:35 p.m. 10Sacramento State, 1:05 p.m. 15UCLA, 6:35 p.m. 16-UCLA 12:05 p.m. 17UCLA, 1:05 p.m. 21Brigham Young, 6:35 p.m. 22Brigham Young, 6:35 p.m. 23-Brigham Young, 12:05 p.m.
1U.C.-Irvine, 6:35 p.m. 2-U.C.-Irvine, 6:35 p.m. 3U.C.-Irvine, 1:05 p.m. 8*Rice, 6:35 p.m. 9*Rice, 6:35 p.m. 10*Rice, 1:05 p.m. 12Matsusaka (Japan, exhibition), 6:35 p.m. 15at Hawai'i-Hilo, 6 p.m. 16at Hawai'i-Hilo (2), 1 p.m. 22-*San Jose State, 6:35 p.m. 23-*San Jose State, 6:35 p.m. 24*San Jose State, 1:05 p.m.
Rainbow Easter Tournament
25-Lewis-Clark State vs. Birmingham Southern, 10 a.m. San Jose State vs. U.C.-Riverside, 2 p.m. Hawai'i Pacific vs. Hawai'i-Hilo, 6:35 p.m. 26San Jose State vs. Hawai'i Pacific, 10 a.m. Hawai'i-Hilo vs. Lewis-Clark State, 2 p.m. Birmingham Southern vs. Hawai'i, 6:35 p.m. 27Hawai'i-Hilo vs. San Jose State, 10 a.m. Lewis-Clark State vs. Hawai'i Pacific, 2 p.m. U.C.-Riverside vs. Hawai'i, 6:35 p.m. 28Hawai'i Pacific vs. Birmingham Southern, 10 a.m. U.C.-Riverside vs. Hawai'i-Hilo, 2 p.m. San Jose State vs. Hawai'i, 6:35 p.m. 29U.C.-Riverside vs. Lewis-Clark State, 10 a.m. Birmingham Southern vs. San Jose State, 2 p.m. Hawai'i Pacific vs. Hawai'i, 6:35 p.m. 30-Lewis-Clark State vs. San Jose State, 10 a.m. Birmingham Southern vs. U.C.-Riverside, 2 p.m. Hawai'i-Hilo vs. Hawai'i, 6:35 p.m. 31--U.C.-Riverside vs. Hawai'i Pacific, 10 a.m. Hawai'i-Hilo vs. Birmingham Southern, 2 p.m. Lewis-Clark State vs. Hawai'i, 6:35 p.m.
4*Nevada, 6:35 p.m. 5*Nevada, 6:35 p.m. 6*Nevada, 1:05 p.m. 13at *Louisiana Tech, 7 a.m. 14at *Louisiana Tech, 7 a.m. 15at *Louisiana Tech, 11 a.m. 18at *Rice, 2 p.m. 19at *Rice, 2 p.m. 20at *Rice, 9 a.m. 26*Fresno State, 6:35 p.m. 27*Fresno State, 6:35 p.m. 28*Fresno State, 1:05 p.m.
3at *San Jose State, 4 p.m. 4at *San Jose State, 10 a.m. 5at *San Jose State, 10 a.m. 9*Louisiana Tech, 6:35 p.m. 10*Louisiana Tech, 6:35 p.m. 11*Louisiana Tech, 6:35 p.m. 18at *Nevada, 10 a.m. 19-at *Nevada, 10 a.m. 20at *Nevada, 11 a.m. 23at *Fresno State, 4:05 p.m. 24at *Fresno State, 4:05 p.m. 25at *Fresno State, 10:05 p.m.
May 31-June 2--Regionals
June 7-9--Super Regionals
June 14-22--College World Series