Waiakea senior pitcher Kodi Medeiros was a rare baseball diamond and the last essential link to the school’s first state championship in 2012.
The 6-foot-1 left-hander separated himself from all others at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and Big Island Interscholastic Federation levels with his production and potential.
For the season, Medeiros finished with a 7-1 record and a 0.97 ERA. In 43 1/3 innings, including states, he surrendered only 14 hits and 17 walks and struck out 83 for the BIIF champion Warriors.
Medeiros was named the BIIF Division I Player of the Year, by the league’s coaches, extending his school’s honor string with Quintin Torres-Costa in 2012 and Kean Wong last season.
“I feel grateful and it’s an accomplishment to be selected as the player of the year,” Medeiros said. “All the hard work paid off this year, and I was able to do well.
“What I enjoyed best was our team. We had a lot of fight in us, and we never gave up at all. The whole team had great chemistry, and the main thing I noticed is we stuck together as a team.”
Joining Medeiros on the first team are three teammates in sophomore third baseman Taylor Mondina (.308 batting average, 10 RBIs, .805 on-base plus slugging average), senior catcher Tyler Aburamen (.268, 2 RBIs, .595), and senior outfielder Matt Camacho (.432, 7 RBIs, 1.025).
Medeiros (.486, 13 RBIs) could have given himself competition as a hitter. He was on base often with a .543 clip, and slugged extra-basehits with a .784 average for a resounding 1.327 OPS. Like a school grading curve, anything at .900 percent and above is ‘A’ quality work.
BIIF runner-up Hilo landed six players on the first team. The four seniors — first baseman Jalen Carvalho, shortstop Micah Kaaukai, and outfielders Jodd Carter and Isaiah Banasan — signed collegiate scholarships.
Carvalho (.514, 14 RBIs, 1.355 OPS), Kaaukai (.382, 6 RBIs, .923), Carter (.484, 19 RBIs, 1.472) and Banasan (.250, 7 RBIs, .761) are joined by a pair of young Vikings, sophomore catcher Josh Breitbarth (.143, 3 RBIs, .524) and junior outfielder Noah Serrao (.448, 14 RBIs, 1.190).
Keaau sophomore utility Keian Kanetani (.355, .783 OPS and 2-4, 0.95 ERA in 32 innings) rounds out the first team.
Torres-Costa and Medeiros were a one-two pitching force, and formed a powerful hitting trio, along with Wong, sparking the Warriors to the state championship two years ago.
As legacies are concerned, Medeiros doesn’t go down in BIIF or school history as the most dominant pitcher.
That distinction belongs to Torres-Costa, a 2012 graduate who’s pitching at the University of Hawaii, or Myles Ioane, a 2004 graduate.
As a senior, Torres-Costa was 7-0 with a 0.29 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. He allowed just 12 hits and 12 walks, and whiffed 58. He fired six innings and Medeiros went one inning for a combined 5-2 no-hitter against Baldwin in the state championship game.
As a junior, Ioane went 7-0 with a 0.42 ERA in 33 innings. He yielded 12 hits and was efficient in the strike zone with only five walks, and 54 strikeouts. In his senior season, he was 8-0 with a 0.78 ERA in 36 innings with 16 hits allowed, seven walks, and 79 strikeouts.
However, the great divide with Medeiros is his potential. He has a chance to become the first BIIF player to be picked in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft, which will be held June 5-7 in Secaucus, N.J.
Medeiros’ two best weapons — a 96-mph fastball and slider — have graded out as above-average MLB-quality pitches by scouts. His work ethic is seen in his frame, from 180 pounds as a junior to 195 pounds of muscle as a senior. His commitment is a daily routine of self-improvement.
“My fastball comes from just the torque and mechanics, core and legs, and my dip-and-drive delivery,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of whip with my arm and that creates a lot of torque.
“It feels good to have that commitment and keep doing what I’m doing consistently and it pays off. Depending on what day it is I’ll either lift weights, do core work, or running. At nighttime, I’ll do all the small weight exercises for my shoulder, elbow and forearm.”
Medeiros, recently named the Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year, plans to attend the first day of the MLB draft. The MLB Network, Channel 208 on Oceanic Time Warner Cable, will televise the first round. MLB.com will hold live coverage all three days.
As signing leverage, Medeiros has a full-ride scholarship to Pepperdine. He has a 3.6 grade-point average and plans to major in kinesiology.
Torres-Costa went undrafted while Ioane was a 24th-round selection by the Kansas City Royals in 2004. Ioane declined to sign with the Royals and went to UH, where his pitching career ended after he hurt his arm.
Wong, a second baseman, was drafted in the fourth round by the Tampa Bay Rays last year. He’s at Single-A Bowling Green, where he’s hitting .333 in 167 at-bats and 39 games.
His brother, Kolten Wong, a 2008 Kamehameha graduate, was drafted in the 16th round by the Minnesota Twins, and the first round in 2011 out of UH by the St. Louis Cardinals, who made the second baseman the 22nd overall selection.
Unlike most MLB mock drafts, which are written by bloggers with no scouting experience, pro scout Dave Perkins contributed a piece to sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Perkins, who worked for the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, had Medeiros going 15th overall to the Los Angeles Angels.
“Medeiros’ draft position will be dictated by how clubs profile him. If a team sees him as a starter, he will move up in the draft; if it sees him as a bullpen pitcher, he’ll move down,” Perkins wrote. “With his mid 90’s fastball and hellacious slider, Medeiros has tantalizing stuff and if he can prove durable enough, he could one day be a staff ace.”
Google any MLB mock draft and glowing remarks will shower down on Medeiros’ talent. However, his self-scouting report would also contain his two favorite subjects: work ethic and commitment.
“I’m blessed to have talent, but you have to work hard with the talent you’ve got,” he said. “That’s got me where I am today. Talent is one thing, but you have to put in the hard work to carry that talent, and stay committed to do well consistently.”
Waiakea coach Jensen Sato pointed out there’s another overlooked factor to his ace pitcher’s success — his parents, Robert and Kori Medeiros.
“Kodi’s a special talent,” Sato said. “He competes every day. He definitely works hard and he has good parents who support him. All those things help him be successful.”