Rainbow Warrior baseball inks eight in ’18 class

HONOLULU – University of Hawai’i head baseball coach Mike Trapasso announced the signing of eight players to national letters of intent for the 2018 season on Tuesday. Following up the nationally 37th-ranked class joining the roster this season, the new additions for next year represent five pitchers, two infielders and one possible two-way player for the Rainbow Warriors.

“I’ve never met a coach that didn’t have a ‘great’ recruiting class,” Trapasso noted,  “but this is actually a great recruiting class.”

“The two position players are very athletic and versatile,” Trapasso continued. “And this may be the best collection of arms we’ve ever signed. We wanted to add some power arms and we were able to do that – but were able to get plus arms with pitchability as well. Coaches Rusty McNamara and Carl Fraticelli worked extremely hard on this class and deserve credit.”

Of the signees, five come to Manoa straight from high school, one from junior college and two who come from junior college after appearing as freshmen at Division I schools.

2018 Fall Hawai’i Baseball Signees with Quotes from Head Coach Mike Trapasso

Scott Bellina – RHP – (Avon Park, Fla.) South Florida State Clg.
5-11, 175 lbs.
2016 Stats: 18 App., 2 GS, 36.0 IP, 5.00 ERA, 2 SV.
Trapasso on Bellina: “Scott’s an athletic pitcher with arm strength from 89-91 and a good slider. He will be a great addition to our staff.”

Aaron Gerdes – INF – (Omaha, Neb.) Millard North HS
6-0, 185 lbs.
Notes: Named Nebraska All-Metro team as a utility player.
Trapasso on Gerdes: “Aaron was recruited by several schools in the Midwest, but has a connection to Hawai’i. He’s very athletic and has a high ceiling.”

Kyle Hatton – LHP – (Norco, Calif.) Riverside City Clg.
6-4, 210 lbs.
2016 Stats: Made 12 appearances with 6 starts as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. Had a 3-1 record and 4.21 ERA, 32 K in 47 IP last season.
Trapasso on Hatton: “A transfer from UCSB, Kyle is one of the premier LHP’s in junior college baseball. He will make an immediate impact with a high 80’s to low 90’s arm and pitchability.”

Jonny Homza – INF – (Anchorage, Alaska) South Anchorage HS
6-0, 185 lbs.
2016 Stats: Led SAHS team to state title, hitting a home run while pitching a CG in the championship. Named Alaska Player of the Year after batting .517 with 17 runs and a .611 OBP in the regular season.
Trapasso on Homza: “Jonny was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Alaska as a junior. He played in the prestigious Area Code Games and will be an impact-type player as a freshman.”

Austin Rubick – RHP – (Ventura, Calif.) Ventura Clg.
6-4, 215 lbs.
2016 Stats: Appeared in 11 games in 2016 at Arizona. As a prep at Buena HS, had 21 wins, a 1.34 ERA with 229 K’s in 117 IP.
Trapasso on Rubick: “A transfer from Arizona, Austin is a special talent with a low-to-mid 90’s fastball and a very high ceiling. He’s just coming into his own and we’re very excited about him.”

Cade Smith – RHP – (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada) MEI Secondary
6-5, 205 lbs.
Notes: Member of the Canadian Junior National Team this fall.
Trapasso on Smith: “A member of the Canadian Junior National Team, Cade has a chance to be very special. His frame and arm strength, already at 90 mph, could make him a high draft in three years.”

Sam Shoemaker – RHP – (West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) Sentinel Secondary
6-2, 185 lbs.
Notes: Member of the Canadian Junior National Team this fall.
Trapasso on Shoemaker: “We’re excited about Sam. He has high 80’s stuff with great life. His best baseball is still ahead of him but he’s already on the Canadian Junior National Team.”

Jeremy Yelland – LHP/OF – (Spokane, Wash.) Central Valley HS
6-1, 195 lbs.
Notes: Appeared in the 2016 Area Code Games for the Royals.
Trapasso on Yelland: “Jeremy will be an impact guy as a freshman. Played in the prestigous Area Code Games. He’s a 90mph lefty with great movement, and he’s only been pitching for a year.”

The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors open the 2017 campaign at home with a four-game set against NC State, beginning Friday, February 17 at Les Murakami Stadium. The UH Alumni Game is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 at 1:00 p.m.


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