‘Iolani’s Micah Yonamine comfortable playing the waiting game

'Iolani catcher and Star-Advertiser All-State player of the year Micah Yonamine's future is up in the air as he waits to find out whether he will sign with the Philadelphia Phillies or go to college at Illinois State. Photo by Dennis Oda/Star-Advertiser.

Micah Yonamine had a pretty good idea it would either be the Philadelphia Phillies or the Arizona Diamondbacks if he heard his name called today in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

That made the emotional roller coaster for prospects listening to each name called a little easier, but when it was time for either of the two teams to make their picks, it got stressful real quick.

“Every time (those picks) came up I made sure I was paying attention,” the Star-Advertiser All-State position player of the year said in a phone interview. “I was starting to kind of get worried but when my name came up, it was awesome, so exciting.”

The Phillies, who were the only team Yonamine worked out for on the mainland, made him their 29th-round selection with the 870th overall pick, joining teammate Shane Sasaki, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the third round on Tuesday.

It’s the third time ‘Iolani has had multiple alums selected in the same draft. Jensen Park, who was a fourth-year senior at Northern Colorado, and Pikai Winchester were both taken in 2015. Kila Ka’aihue was drafted out of high school in 2002 along with Kainoa Obrey, who played at Brigham Young before he was selected.

Yonamine is in California playing for the Lincoln Potters in the California Collegiate Summer League, but can’t play now that he’s drafted until he makes his decision whether to turn pro or go to college at Illinois State.

That decision will be a simple one.

“We have a certain number (signing bonus) in mind and if the Phillies are able to meet it, I’d love to sign,” Yonamine said.

Yonamine said he worked out for a Toronto Blue Jays scout in Hawaii and spoke with a scout from the Cincinnati Reds, but they backed off once Yonamine made his number known.

The Phillies and Diamondbacks remained interested.

“The past few days, the Phillies scout has kind of been calling me trying to keep me updated and as the rounds started going on, I was getting a little worried and losing hope a little bit,” Yonamine said.

Dane Fujinaka, a Mid-Pacific alum who played collegiately at Sacramento State, was hired last year as an assistant coach for the Redbirds and recruited Yonamine to Illinois State. If he decides to go to college, he can finish the summer playing in California for the Potters.

“I had a game tonight but I can’t play now,” Yonamine said. “(The Phillies) don’t want (me) to risk injury.”


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