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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 3, 2003

Mead pitching in for Roosevelt

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Even before he saw the freshmen get ample playing time for the University of Hawai'i baseball team, Roosevelt senior pitcher Kaimi Mead was sold on the Rainbows.

Saint Louis School transfer Kaimi Mead has provided immediate help to the Roosevelt High pitching staff. He has a 2-0 record, including a no-hitter against Kalani.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Although the Rainbows were coming off their worst season ever at 16-40, Mead committed to UH during the early signing period in November. That despite offers from Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, Pepperdine and Kansas.

"Somebody that was close to me said it's better to be a cornerstone of a building program than just to be another player in a nationally ranked program," Mead said.

Mead is a left-hander the Rainbows sorely need next season. Hawai'i has only one left-hander in senior Justin Cayetano. Left-handed pitching was such a priority, UH signed four southpaws in November — including Mark Rodrigues, a sophomore at Los Medanos JC. Rodrigues was drafted out of Kaua'i in 2001 by Montreal in the 29th round and last year in the 37th round by Oakland.

Mead is looking like a nice pick. The Rough Riders are 2-0 in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Eastern Division and he has won both games, once in relief in the season opener against McKinley and on Saturday in a no-hitter against Kalani. While Mead's talent was a given, Roosevelt coach Kerry Higa said the transfer from Saint Louis School brought along a good attitude.

"Coming from another school and having being voted in by his teammates as one of the captains, that says something about his personality and how the rest of the team respects him," Higa said. "He shows a lot by example. He's easy to get along with and very coachable. When you give him instruction, he's always willing to try new things. Even with his success, he's still willing to develop. That's one of his strengths."

Mead started getting serious about baseball during his sophomore year at Saint Louis. That is when Brandon League was a highly touted senior. League signed with Pepperdine, but took the $660,000 signing bonus from Toronto, which made him a second-round pick in the 2001 draft.

"He really had an influence on me on going to college," Mead said. "It made me realize that I can save my parents a lot of money and it made me realize I can be something in baseball. He was like a big brother, coaching me. He said to make sure I sign with a college before I look at pros."

Mead said scouts have talked to him. Higa said they have varying reports on Mead's velocity.

"He was hitting consistently 88 (mph)," Higa said. "Every now and then 90."

Whether Mead gets drafted in June might be determined by how well he performs between now and then. If he does get picked, he will have to make another decision.

"If it's not right (bonus offer), I'll just go to school for three years and get my education (before becoming draft eligible as a junior)," he said. "And I need to grow up a little bit before I get drafted.

"I eventually want to graduate (with a major in sports medicine). My goal is do good in baseball, but if it does not work out, then I would like to at least have a decent job."

Mead, who said he left Saint Louis for personal reasons, is one of two Hawai'i high school players to sign with UH in November. The other is Pearl City's Jonathon Serapion, a 6-1, 190-pound right-handed pitcher. However, Serapion is out for the season with a fractured ankle suffered sliding into second base during a preseason game, Chargers coach Mel Seki said. Serapion also batted fourth or fifth in the lineup, Seki added.