HONOLULU (KHON2) - A heralded high school senior was selected in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Minnesota Twins, but decided to turn down a six-figure signing bonus from the pros to play for the 'Bows.
Many University of Hawaii fans are familiar with the story of former All-American Kolten Wong.
They're hoping Cade Smith will follow the incredible career arc of the current St. Louis Cardinals second baseman.
Like Wong, Smith was selected as a true freshman by Minnesota in the 16th round of the 2017 draft, but made a mature decision to invest in himself.
"My family and I felt like it was the better decision for me to come to school and have a chance to develop," Smith said of turning down the Twins to attend UH. "Hopefully in three years, I'll get drafted again."
Rainbow Warriors head coach Mike Trapasso says that Smith's 6-foot-5, 230 pound body and low 90's fastball were destined for the mound.
"He's a guy that has, just looking at the body, the frame, if you're going to just build a pitcher from scratch, that's the body, the frame that you want," Trapasso said.
Smith was thrown into the fire of close games in his two career outings, chucking 4.2 innings while allowing a single run.
“He’s got deception along with the good stuff, the 90-mph fastball," Trapasso said.
"We've got to get a little more consistent in the zone, and a little more consistent breaking ball," he added. "He’s going to work at it, and he just gets better every day, and we’re excited about him. We think that he and Jeremy Yelland as freshman have a real bright future for us. Before they leave here, they could be pretty high (draft) picks."
Smith and the Rainbow Warriors will host 2017 West Coast Conference co-champion Loyola Marymount in a four-game series beginning Thursday at 6:35 p.m. at Les Murakami Stadium.
University of Hawaii Games 8-11
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (5-2) vs. Loyola Marymount Lions (1-6)
- Thursday, March 1, 6:35 p.m. HT
- Friday, March 2, 6:35 p.m. HT
- Saturday, March 3, 6:35 p.m. HT
- Sunday, March 4, 1:05 p.m. HT
The first two games of the series (Thurs.-Fri.) will be broadcast live on Spectrum Sports and streamed on BigWest.TV.
All games will air live on the radio. Thursday's series opener will appear on NBC Sports 1500 AM, while the three other games will air on ESPN Honolulu 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen to the final three games live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona and KTOH on Kauai.
Texaco is the series sponsor and will be giving away great prizes each day.