POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 5, 2010
Moanalua pitcher Jordan DePonte and Saint Louis outfielder Kaeo Aliviado have given Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso oral commitments to play for the Rainbows beginning in 2011.
DePonte, a 6-foot-1 right-hander, played primarily at third base last year for Na Menehune, but has been recruited as a pitcher. UNLV and Long Beach State showed interested first before a recent outing at a high school showcase event at Hans L'Orange Park drew the attention of the Rainbows coaching staff.
"I e-mailed coach (Mike Trapasso) I was interested in playing for them and heard back from (assistant) coach (Chad Konishi)," DePonte said. "They came out to see me throw, and I was real on and everything, and after we talked, they said they could make me an offer."
Moanalua coach Scott Yamada said DePonte threw in the "upper 80s, touching 90 a couple of times" as a junior.
DePonte said he has "picked up a huge amount of velocity" during the summer, enabling him to get the dream offer he has hoped for since he was a little kid.
"I remember coach (Trapasso's) first year at Hawaii, I would go and watch all the games," DePonte said. "I didn't think I'd ever get a scholarship offer from UH, so once I did, I took it."
DePonte won't be a stranger to everyone when he begins his UH career in 12 months. He spent the first semester of his sophomore year as a quarterback on 'Iolani's football team, backing up 2010 signee Jarrett Arakawa. Current Rainbows outfielder Breland Almadova was a senior on the team that won the Division II state championship.
Aliviado should be a familiar name to local baseball fans. Kaeo's father, Layton, managed the 2005 Ewa Beach team that won the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Aliviado batted leadoff and got a hit in the championship game against Curacao, one of two World Series titles by Hawaii teams in the last five years.
According to statistics from Crusaders coach George Gusman, who confirmed his commitment, Aliviado hit .426 with three home runs, 18 RBIs and eight stolen bases, helping lead Saint Louis to an ILH championship.