Former Vulcan Manago Traded to Cornbelters

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The dream of making a career out of playing professional baseball will continue for former University of Hawai`i at Hilo standout Keoni Manago, but the journey will take him out of the islands and right into the heart of the mainland.

Within the last week, according to general manager Frank Hecomovich, Hawai`i manager Garry Templeton II received a trade offer from the Normal Cornbelters of the Frontier Baseball League. The Cornbelters, who are based out of Normal, IL, finished the 2012 season with a 29-67 record, the worst record in the league’s West Division.

Hecomovich said that a scout from the Cornbelters had watched Manago play at a game this past season and was impressed with what he saw, which led to the offseason trade offer. The Stars will receive a player to be named late.

Manago was added to the Hawai`i Stars roster after the first few weeks of the season and played 31 of the team’s 54 games. In that time, he led the team with a .333 batting average, smacked eight doubles, and produced 17 RBI.


He was voted as a North American League North Division All-Star by the managers of the four league squads, including the Stars, Sonoma County Grapes, San Rafael Pacifics, and Na Koa Ikaika Maui. Other Stars to make the list included infielder Arnoldo Ponce, outfielder Steve Tedesco, and designated hitter Anthony Lopez.

Manago’s player profile page on the Normal website has a quote from the team’s player personnel director, Nick Belmonte, who describes Manago as a “tough, hard nose player.”

“His style of play reminds me a lot of Shane Victorino, a fellow Hawaiian,” said Belmonte on the profile page. “He didn’t make an error all of last season, and he’ll provide us with versatility in our batting order. He’s just the type of player we’re looking to bring in this season.”


Manago was a former PacWest Conference Player of the Year at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo. In his senior campaign in 2012, Manago hit .394 with 25 runs batted in.

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