The University of Hawaii baseball team hit the road for a Big West Conference series at UC Santa Barbara this weekend, but already got a huge victory this week in recruiting.

The Rainbow Warriors landed a verbal commitment from Iolani freshman infielder Mana Lau Kong.

The 6-foot-6 freshman who is projected as an elite prospect for the class of 2025 is a former standout from the 2018 Honolulu Little League team that captured the Little League World Series. Lau Kong chose to end his recruitment and commit to the ‘Bows over respected programs like Mississippi State, Utah, Arizona State and Duke.

“I chose UH over all of the other schools that were recruiting me because they really made me a priority and they showed the most love, ” Lau Kong told KHON2 Sports reporter Alan Hoshida. “Also, I feel like the UH coaching staff with coach Rich Hill and Dan Cox along with the others will help prepare me and get me to be the best player that I can be and lastly, probably one of the most biggest reasons was my family. Staying home, playing in front of them representing the home state.”

Lau Kong, who is being used as a utility position player for the Raiders in his rookie campaign at the varsity level has five runs-batted-in through seven games in the ILH. A big reason behind him making the commitment so early to UH despite there being three more years of prep baseball ahead of him was to help clear his plate so that he could focus on academics and his athletic growth.

“This is something I can definitely get off my chest now. I don’t have to worry about all these others schools coming after me and talking to them. I can just focus on prepping myself for the next level and getting bigger and stronger and getting ready to ball out,” said Lau Kong.

The current Rainbow Warriors will open their three game series at UCSB on Friday. The series will run through Sunday before playing a single non conference game at USC on Monday.