Sports

Wong Named to All-Star Futures Game

June 23, 2012, 7:28 AM HST
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Hilo native Kolten Wong hasn’t spent a full season in any level of professional baseball, but he’s already positioned himself as one of the top prospects at his level by being named to the U.S. team in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

The game, which is part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend, features the top up-and-coming talent from the minor leagues competing in front of fans, scouts, and a national television audience. Wong will compete on the U.S. team against the best world talent in the opposite dugout.

“I was kinda speechless at first,” Wong explained. “I didn’t know what to do. I was just super excited, so I called my parents up.” Wong said that his father, Kaha, who also spent much of his time teaching Kolten to hit, along with his mother and family members who live in the Kansas City area, will attend the game on July 8 at Kaufmann Stadium. The game will be aired on ESPN2 at Noon.

That’s the second of two big accolades for the University of Hawaii standout. Last week, Wong was announced as a starter for the North Division in the Texas League All-Star Game, played June 28 at ONEOK Field, the home field of the Tulsa Drillers, cementing his place as one of the top talents in an adjustment-heavy league.

“The Texas League is a small league…you play each other in your own division a bunch of times,” Wong said. “Pitchers up here are really good, but they find out really good things about you that you don’t know….It’s tough because you constantly have to work on every part of your game.”

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Entering Saturday’s action, Wong is hitting .302 on the season, putting him at third on the team. He has hit seven home runs and driven in 32 runs batted in. Wong is still trying to learn how to play second base, as the eight errors he has committed this year will show. But, many people around Wong, including the second baseman himself, would admit that he has made big strides in fielding his position.

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“I’ve worked with Jose Oqendo for countless hours just knowing the ins and outs of playing second base…I don’t want people to know me as just being a great hitter. I want people to know me as an all-around player,” said Wong.

Wong started his professional career soon after he was drafted by the Cardinals last season. He spent the final few months of the class-A season at Quad Cities. He has been at the AA level with the Springfield Cardinals all season.

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