Kolten Wong spent last summer representing his country on the USA National Team.
Now his focus is on his professional future.
Wong said he won’t play for Team USA for a second consecutive year despite being one of 39 players officially named to the team trials roster yesterday.
The two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection will remain in the Cape Cod League for the duration of the summer. Wong, along with UH teammate Matt Sisto, is currently playing for the Orleans Firebirds.
"Playing up here and getting at-bats every day and seeing the competition, this is the most like pro ball which is what I want to do for my whole life," Wong said. "I think it’s just something that will make me a better player for next year."
Through 16 games, Wong is hitting a team-leading .333 with three home runs, six RBIs and nine stolen bases. He’s seventh in the league in batting and tied for the lead in home runs.
Wong was one of four players from the 2009 Collegiate National Team asked back for a second season.
He opted to stay with his current club instead of traveling to Cary, N.C., for tryouts that begin on Tuesday.
"I’ve got all the scouts up here to play in front of and I’m getting twice as many at-bats as I would with USA baseball," Wong said. "The talent up here is amazing and every at-bat is a struggle because the pitchers are amazing."
"(Team USA) was a good experience for one year, but I think this is the best decision for me and my future."
Wong has recently split time playing second base and shortstop and was dropped from first to third in the order. He had two games with three stolen bases in the first week and has recently showed off his power, hitting three homers.
"Up here pitchers really challenge you with their fastball, which is my specialty," Wong said. "They come with the fastball and I come with the barrel."
Sisto, who finished his sophomore season at UH with quality outings against Fresno State and San Diego, is 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA in three starts for the Firebirds. He’s allowed eight hits and two runs in 16 1/3 innings and issued just one walk.
UH BASEBALL CAMPS UPCOMING
The summer slate of UH baseball camps begins on July 17 with pitching and hitting camps that run for two days.
Kids ages 7-18 are invited to participate in specialty camps dedicated to different areas of the game.
Two-day camps are $100 per person and the four-day camp July 19-22 is $375.
For more information, call 956-6247 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
UH summer Baseball Report
A look at the current University of Hawaii Rainbows playing summer ball:
Not playing: Jeff Van Doornum, Lenny Linsky, Easton Torigoe, Sean Montplaisir
Compiled by Billy Hull, Star-Advertiser