HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last year the Hawaii Little League All-Star team captivated the hearts of the islands.
The squad was comprised of local teenagers from across the state that bested the world’s greatest Little League teams. The team captured the title in Williamsport and Aukai Kea was a big reason why.
The Kapolei native starred on the pitching mound and at the plate, and at the end of the tournament was recognized as one of the best teenage players in the world.
Kea has spent most of his time since the LLWS traveling baseball circuits, and just last week was invited to the 14U National Team Development Program (NTDP) roster.
The roster only invites the top teenage players in America.
“It’s a really great opportunity,” Kea said. “I’m playing against these guys because they are the best out of the whole country so I’m really grateful."
The NTDP offers athletes an opportunity to connect with USA Baseball staff an to help better prepare the athletes for future national team experiences.
The program includes skill development sessions, off-field education seminars, and an end of camp intrasquad series between the teams Stars and stripes.
The training program also exposes the teenagers to professional scouts, college recruiters and the 15U National Team staff and task force.
Aukai’s father Sam Kea, still struggles to find words watching his son fulfill his dreams.
“Everybody likes to see their kids be successful in whatever they do,” Kea said. “It’s hard to put into words, I’m just very proud.”
The Kea’s are set to leave next week for the program and Aukai know’s when he get’s there, he’ll be representing much more then just himself.
“On this rock we don’t get as much light as some of the other places,” Kea said. “I hope to expose Hawaii an show them what Hawaii is about.”
The 2019 14U NTDP will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from July 21-24.