New Big Island ‘Bow: Konawaena’s Bronson Rivera signs to play baseball at UH

  • Hawaii Prep's Michael Hughes (18) steals second as Konawaena's Bronson Rivera receives the throw at second base in 2019. Rivera and Hughes will go from opponents to teammates next year at UH. Rivera signed with the Rainbow Warriors last week. (West Hawaii Today/File Photo)

  • Konawaena's Bronson Rivera gets caught in a run down by Hawaii Prep during a BIIF Division II game in 2018. The senior infielder has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at UH next year. (West Hawaii Today/File Photo)

Bronson Rivera hasn’t played a baseball game with Konawaena since March, but that hasn’t stopped the senior infielder from working toward his future goals — a BIIF championship, a successful college career and to one day being drafted by a major league team.

Even with the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of his junior season with the Wildcats, Rivera is one step closer to achieving those dreams.

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Last week, Rivera signed his national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, allowing him to stay close to his home of the Big Island while playing at the Division I level.

“I felt UH was a good fit for me,” Rivera said. “It’s close to where I want to be, and I’m very excited to go play there and to stay close to home, where the culture and everything is the same. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Aside from a familiar lifestyle, UH also offers familiar faces in its lineup. Rivera will potentially join next year on the Rainbow Warriors’ roster: Waiakea graduates Stone Miyao, Safea Villaruz-Mauai and Jacob Igawa; Kamehameha grads Dallas Duarte and Tai Atkins; and Hawaii Prep grad Michael Hughes.

“I know all of them. They’re all my boys,” Rivera said of his future teammates who hail from the Big Island. “We’re all really excited to get at it on the field together.”

Rivera hit .400 as a sophomore in 2019 with Konawaena and finished the season with 16 RBIs. He also pitched 11.2 innings with a 4.91 ERA that season.

A plan for a BIIF baseball season in the spring has yet to be announced, but Rivera hopes he can get back on the field one last time as a high school player to help put the Wildcats on top.

“I want to simply go out and really soak up my last high school games, if there is a season, and just help my team win and then win the BIIFs,” Rivera said. “I’ve never won the BIIFs in my high school career, so that’s a big one on my checklist for high school 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 will either play shortstop, his primary position at Konawaena, or play third base for the ‘Bows.

“I’m looking forward to going to Manoa, developing as a player to the best of my abilities and preparing for the draft when I’ll be eligible in three years,” Rivera said.

At this time, if Rivera had his pick, he said there’s one MLB uniform he’d want to wear above all others — those of the reigning World Series champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“That’s my team. That’s my family’s team,” Rivera said. “I grew up watching their games and that’s my dad’s favorite team, so it’s mine too.”

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Until that time comes, Rivera is satisfied with helping UH field 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 to help the team win,” Rivera said. “Go ‘Bows!”

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