UH righty Blaze Koali’i Pontes, Saint Louis shortstop Aiva Arquette selected in MLB draft

  • University of Hawaii right-hander Blaze Koali’i Pontes became the second UH pitcher to be drafted in the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. (Craig T. Kojima/Honolulu Star-Advertiser, file)

The University of Hawaii baseball team had a second player taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft today when right-hander Blaze Koali‘i Pontes was selected in the 16th round (No. 484 overall) by the Oakland Athletics.

Pontes, a Kamehameha alum, was named to the All-Big West first team this past season after going 5-1 with a 2.94 ERA. He struck out 88 in 70 1/3 innings.

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Pontes’ selection gives Hawaii multiple draft picks in the same season for the first time since 2018, when catcher Kekai Rios was taken in the 28th round and right-hander Dylan Thomas went in the 38th round.

Thomas didn’t sign and returned to UH for the following season.

Pontes excelled this past season once he moved into a starting role. In seven starts, he was 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA and averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

He is the 21st Kamehameha alumnus to be selected in the draft, which is more than any other Hawaii high school.

Kamehameha has produced four MLB draft picks in the last five years — Pontes, Hunter Breault (2021), Codie Paiva (2019), Rios (2018).

The ILH produced its second draft pick of the day two rounds later when recent Saint Louis graduate Aiva Arquette was selected in the 18th round (No. 528 overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Arquette, a 6-foot-4 shortstop who was ranked in the top 200 of MLB.com’s draft prospect rankings, indicated to the Star-Advertiser on Monday night he would likely not sign and instead play college ball at the University of Washington.

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