HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three weeks ago, the University of Hawaii baseball team was in first place in the Big West Conference.
Since, the 'Bows have lost 8 of their last 10 games, but the losses haven't been without a bright spot.
Freshman catcher Kekai Rios was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List on Wednesday, a national away presented to the top collegiate catcher based on athletic ability, sportsmanship, team leadership and character.
"It's great," said Rios, when asked about the honor. "I'm glad that I can contribute to this team as much as I am right now, and I'm grateful for these opportunities that I've been getting."
Rios is currently tied for sixth among Big West Conference hitters with a .342 average, second best on the team. He's hit seven doubles and a game-winning home run while picking off 17 would-be base thieves so far, while also assisting in two double plays.
"You know, we knew that Kekai would be one of the better defensive catchers. That's why we recruited him," said Rainbow Warriors head coach Mike Trapasso. "But we'd be spinning it if we said that the offensive production we've seen out of him wouldn't be a pleasant surprise."
Semifinalists for the award will be announced on May 18, 2016.