By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Holy Names continues to cherry pick Big Island talent for its fledgling baseball program, which is set to make its Pacific West Conference debut this season.
The PacWest is home to UH-Hilo and Hawaii Pacific, allowing Big Isle players who sign with the Hawks the opportunity to attend school on the mainland, and return home during a road trip.
More than 60 players attended the abdacademy.com’s Hilo College Camp, organized by hitting instructor Kaha Wong, on Sunday and Monday at Wong Stadium, showcasing their skills before 18 colleges.
“It was very successful, unbelievable,” Wong said. “We had offers to almost a dozen kids.”
Under NCAA rules, schools aren’t allowed to comment until a signed national letter of intent is received. The next signing date is April 17, 2013.
On their 2013 roster, the Hawks have 2012 Hawaii Prep graduate and pitcher Jayse Bannister and infielder Micah Ashburn and catcher Matt Kiyota, 2011 HPA graduates.
Holy Names, a Division II school in Oakland, Calif., made scholarship offers to Konawaena outfielders Domonic Morris and Kileona Manzano, and Kealakehe pitcher Teaotai Buehler, who also has a deal on the table from Northern Colorado, which will join the Western Athletic Conference in 2014.
The Division I Bears also offered Kamehameha-Hawaii outfielder Chad Teshima. Northern Colorado has been to the NCAA regionals 20 times and the College World Series 10 times, the last trip in 1974.
On the homefront, HPU expressed interest in Hilo outfielder Tyler Higa-Gonsalves and Konawaena infielder Ryan Torres-Torioka.
Luna College, which has a collection of Big Island players, also made its annual appearance and offered Kamehameha infielder Bronson Pulgados.
If Pulgados signs, he would join catcher Lloyd Edwards (Honokaa, 2012) for the 2014 season when Ridge Hoopii-Haslam (Hilo, 2011) and Eddie Pacris (Waiakea, 2011) have expired their eligibility.
Konawaena pitcher Jarrett Kitaoka received a full-ride offer from Eastern Arizona, the junior college that also signed pitchers Kaimana Moike (Kamehameha, 2012) and Dylan Shiraki (Honokaa, 2012).
Hilo pitcher Kian Kurokawa has been to the Hilo College Camp twice and kept the attention of Puget Sound, which has 2006 Waiakea graduate Kainoa Correa as its chief recruiter.
The Loggers, from the popular Northwest Conference, which includes Pacific (Ore.) University, can’t offer athletic scholarships as a Division III school, but academic and grant packages are available.
Wong confirmed all the offers and added that two Big Island Interscholastic Federation players off the radar — Waiakea’s Andy Filoteo III and Keaau’s Mareko Remlinger — received small packages from Cedar Valley in Texas and Feather (Quincy, Calif.) River, two juco schools, respectively.
“Andy didn’t play last year, but I’m happy he got something,” Wong said. “Markeo said, ‘Coach, I just want to play ball.’ At least, they both got a little help.
“Jodd Carter (Hilo outfielder) got some looks from Hawaii and Temple. We had 61 kids come out, a lot young ones. I’m happy and I’ll keep running it, even though my kids are done. My job is getting the kids to hit with me and getting them to the next level.”