Bronson Rivera has not played a baseball game with Konawaena since March, but that has not stopped the senior infiltrator from working towards his future goals – a BIIF championship, a successful college career and one day being drafted by a major league team.
Even with the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of the junior season with the Wildcats, Rivera is one step closer to achieving those dreams.
Last week, Rivera signed his national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Hawaii in Manoa so he could stay close to the home of the Big Island while playing at Division I level.
“I felt that UH suited me well,” Rivera said. “It’s close to where I want to be, and I’m very excited to play there and stay close to home, where the culture and everything is the same. I’m really looking forward to that. “
Apart from a familiar lifestyle, UH also offers familiar faces in the series. Rivera will potentially participate next year on the Rainbow Warriors’ list: Waiakea-educated Stone Miyao, Safea Villaruz-Mauai and Jacob Igawa; Kamehameha grads Dallas Duarte and Tai Atkins; and Hawaii Prep degree Michael Hughes.
“I know them all. They’re all my boys, ”Rivera said of her future teammates from the Big Island. “We are all very happy to get to that on the field together.”
Rivera hit 400 as the second year in 2019 with Konawaena and ended the season with 16 RBI. He also threw 11.2 innings with a 4.91 ERA that season.
A plan for a BIIF baseball season this spring has not yet been announced, but Rivera hopes he can return to the field one last time as a high school player to help the Wildcats to the top.
“I just want to go out and really soak up my last high school games, if it’s a season, and just help my team win and then win the BIIFs,” Rivera said. “I’ve never won BIIFs in high school, so there’s a big one on my high school checklist that I want to go out with.”
Like Konawaena, UH’s 2020 season was canceled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Rainbow Warriors went 20-30 in 2019 under their longtime head coach Mike Trapasso.
Rivera said he would either play shortstop, his primary position in Konawaena, or play third base for ‘Bows.
“I look forward to traveling to Manoa, developing myself as a player to the best of my ability and preparing for the draft when I qualify in three years,” said Rivera.
At this point, if Rivera had his choice, he said it’s an MLB uniform he wants to wear above everyone else – those of the reigning world champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s my team. It’s the family team, ”Rivera said. “I grew up watching their games, and it’s Dad’s favorite team, so it’s mine too.”
Until that time comes, Rivera is happy to help UH put together a successful team in the near future.
“I’m just really excited to go out and establish a fan base of the people of Hawaii and make my name known. I want to represent where I come from and have an impact on helping the team win, ”said Rivera. “Go ‘bows!”