Punahou alumnus and Cal Poly starting outfielder Cole Cabrera is transferring to the University of Hawaii for his final season of collegiate baseball.
Cabrera announced the decision on his social media accounts on Sunday morning.
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“Coming home to play for the University of Hawaii, it’s special. I know I can speak for a lot of us returning home that it’s just a special feeling,” he told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello following the announcement of his decision. “Growing up going to the games and now going to be able to play and put Hawaii across my chest and represent the state of Hawai’i and play. It’s special and I’m very humbled to have gotten the opportunity and the chance that coach Hill is giving me. I’m really excited.”
Cabrera started 115 games in the outfield over the last four seasons as a member of the Mustangs. In the 2021 season, he was primarily the team’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, hitting .261 for the season with four home runs and 21 RBI.
When Hawaii was swept by Cal Poly to end its 2021 season, Cabrera played a pivotal role in helping the Mustangs win all four games. On May 29, he drew the walk-off walk against UH and then had a walk-off double against the ‘Bows later that afternoon to guide CP to a doubleheader sweep.
“It’s kind of come full circle. Playing all my years here and then going away and coming back home. You can’t really write this story, I’m just living it,” he said. “I’m still in shock that this is even happening and I think we have a great group of local core guys coming back, coupled with the returning veterans with last years team and I’m just excited to meet the guys and just get this whole thing rolling.”
Cabrera graduated from Punahou in 2017 and was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the MLB Draft later that summer but opted for college baseball instead.
“I’m really excited for what we can do this year,” Cabrera said. “I hope we surprise a lot of people in the Big West Conference and it’s going to be fun.”