But as the eagle leaves its nest, it’s not so far to go. — Led Zeppelin “Ten Years Gone”
Waiakea’s Kalai Rosario is the 2020 Gatorade Hawaii Baseball Player of the Year, the Gatorade Company announced Thursday.
Rosario was recognized for his outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior outfielder earned MVP honors at the national Under Armour 4th of July Classic and won the home run derby at the prestigious Area Code Games. Rosario was hitting .343 with five home runs and 11 RBI in the 2020 preseason prior to the cancellation of the regular season due to the COVID-19 heath crisis. A Honolulu Star-Advertiser first-team All-State selection, he led the Warriors to a 15-4 record in 2019, batting .420 with five home runs, 31 RBI and 32 runs scored.
Rosario has volunteered locally on behalf of youth baseball programs and has raised funds to benefit homeless children and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, according to a Gatorade news release.
“His positive attitude, his resilience and his ability to make the most of every situation has made Kalai a joy to coach all these years,” Waiakea coach Chris Honda said. “Nothing really gets him down. If for some reason he’s let down by his own performance, he bounces back quickly. Each day, each at-bat is a new beginning.”
Rosario has maintained a B average in the classroom, according to the release, and he has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship at Cal Baptist.
Gatorade Hawaii baseball players of the year:
>> 2020: Kalai Rosario, Waiakea
>> 2019: Micah Yonamine, ‘Iolani
>> 2018: Stone Parker, Kailua
>> 2017: Joey Cantillo, Kailua
>> 2016: Alex Oley, Mid-Pacific
>> 2015: Noah Shackles, Mid-Pacific
>> 2014: Kodi Medeiros, Waiakea
>> 2013: Trey Saito, Mid-Pacific
>> 2012: Travis Garcia-Perreira, Mid-Pacific
>> 2011: Kalei Contrades, Saint Louis
>> 2010: Michael Suiter, Punahou
>> 2009: Breland Almadova, ‘Iolani
>> 2008: Aaron Fukiji, Mid-Pacific
>> 2007: Harrison Ishida, Punahou
>> 2006: Wally Marciel, ‘Iolani
>> 2005: Kasey Ko, Punahou
>> 2004: Harrison Kuroda, Mid-Pacific
>> 2003: Kala Kaaihue, ‘Iolani
>> 2002: Matt Inouye, Mid-Pacific
>> 2001: Brandon League, Saint Louis
>> 2000: Jason Kaanoi, Kamehameha
>> 1999: Jerome Williams, Waipahu
>> 1998: Kainoa Obrey, ‘Iolani
>> 1997: Dane Sardinha, Kamehameha
>> 1996: Dane Sardinha, Kamehameha
>> 1995: Onan Masaoka, Waiakea
>> 1994: Troy Yoshimasu, Castle >> 1993: Robby Robinson, Mid-Pacific
>> 1992: Brandon Toro, Kamehameha
>> 1991: Chris Garnett, Mid-Pacific
>> 1990: Kekoa Kaluhiokalani, Waianae
>> 1989: Brent McCreadie, Kaiser
>> 1988: William Blanchette, Punahou
>> 1987: Keone Morreira, Saint Louis >> 1986: Shane Ogawa, Hilo