BELLO

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS -

The Hilo se­nior is ex­pected to go within the top five rounds of the MLB draft, which will be held June 4-6 and tele­vised on the MLB Net­work the first day and streamed on mlb.com the last two days.

“I’m ex­cited about it,” said Bello, who has a 3.8 GPA and plans to ma­jor in ki­ne­si­ol­ogy. “I’ve al­ways wanted to play pro ball, but it be­came a real pos­si­bil­ity when I made the Area Code team (in 2017), and from there I re­ally thought I could have a fu­ture in this game.”

The best way to at­tract at­ten­tion from MLB scouts is to play at the top show­cases. Bello had strong per­for­mances at the Area Code Games in Au­gust in Long Beach, Calif., and the Per­fect Game show­case in Novem­ber when he led his team in homers and bat­ting av­er­age.

Bello was named to the Per­fect Game West All-Re­gion first team, the only player from Hawaii se­lected.

A half-dozen scouts have been reg­u­lars at Kaha Wong’s bat­ting cage be­hind Tar­get and at Bello’s BIIF games.

“The scouts have said he’s go­ing in the top five rounds and has all the tools,” Wong said. “Any time you go in the top five rounds, that’s a lot of money, and they want to know him as a per­son, player, team­mate, and son.

“He’s a strong per­son, has a good fam­ily, and his mind is straight. His grades are up, and if things don’t work out he could go to school on a full-ride.

“The scouts want to know if Micah can han­dle play­ing pro baseball day af­ter day. They know most of the kids who come out of Hilo have strong minds.”

Bello’s dad works at Hawai­ian Tel, and his mom, Stacey Bello, is the prin­ci­pal at Keaukaha Elementary. His sis­ter, Kan­isha Bello, is a para­medic on Oahu and a Pu­na­hou girls bas­ket­ball as­sis­tant.

If the scouts do more dig­ging, they’ll dis­cover Bello comes from ath­letic stock. His sis­ter played hoops at Idaho and Hawaii. His first cousin is Kame­hameha se­nior Nalu Ka­ha­pea, a 6-5 bas­ket­ball/volleyball player.

Bello’s ath­leti­cism also car­ried over to the grid­iron. He last played foot­ball as a 10-year-old. In some­thing of per­fect tim­ing, Bello came out in his last year and played cor­ner­back for the Vik­ings, who won the BIIF’s first state ti­tle.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to play foot­ball,” he said. “The sea­son was un­be­liev­able. We put in a lot of work in the off­sea­son and on the field with coach Kaeo (Drum­mondo). It was a grind the whole year. We worked for it (state ti­tle) and got it.”

Bello cred­ited his dad and youth coach Lenn Miyao for build­ing his swing. Wong has re­fined it. And the scouts have taken note.

“They said I have a nice swing,” Bello said. “They know coach Kaha works with me. They said I’m di­rect to the ball, have a good frame, and if I keep work­ing and grind­ing I have a fu­ture. They know that coach Kaha works with my back hips and legs more with my swing.”

Bello’s speed is al­ready bet­ter than MLB av­er­age. The right-handed hit­ter has been timed to first base at 4.1 sec­onds, which draws a 70 or plus plus grade on the 20-80 scout­ing scale.

In the 60-yard dash, Bello clocked in at 6.4 sec­onds, a 75 grade. That sprinter’s speed helps in the out­field, which he counts as his strength.

“It’s my field­ing, my abil­ity to track balls, get to the ball quick enough and make a throw in,” he said. “When I was young, my dad hit balls to me to track bet­ter and see launch an­gles. That helped me a lot. He hit a lot of fly balls.

“It was play and hit when I was younger. We never re­ally just threw the ball. There was a pur­pose when we’d go and prac­tice ev­ery day.”

Hello, Gaels

In Novem­ber, Bello took an of­fi­cial visit to Saint Mary’s and hung out with the Gaels for two nights. He also en­joyed his time with other stu­dents, teach­ers, and staff.

Saint Mary’s coach Eric Valen­zuela is in his fifth sea­son and led the Gales to their first West Coast Con­fer­ence reg­u­lar-sea­son ti­tle in 2016 and first WCC Tour­na­ment ti­tle and NCAA Re­gional last year.

“Saint Mary’s was the first to of­fer a full-ride when I was a fresh­man, and I ver­bally com­mit­ted,” Bello said. “Coach Eric is great with my fam­ily. He’s a great coach and turned the pro­gram around.

“The school is beau­ti­ful and re­minds me of home. I like hunt­ing, and I saw an­i­mals run­ning through.”

If he sets foot on cam­pus, maybe Bello can test his speed and run af­ter a few. But be­fore that, there’s busi­ness on deck.

Ti­tle defense

The Vik­ings are the de­fend­ing BIIF Di­vi­sion I cham­pi­ons. But this sea­son, the league has only one au­to­matic berth to the HH­SAA tour­na­ment. The BIIF runner-up will have a play-in game.

Hilo (8-3) hosts Kealakehe (5-6) in the best of three BIIF semi­fi­nals at 3 p.m. Fri­day at Wong Sta­dium.

“It’s go­ing to be a chal­lenge,” Bello said. “We have to put in a lot of work.”

That’s a mes­sage Wong has been ham­mer­ing home to Bello, who started on the job as a 4-year-old.

“I told Micah he’s go­ing to be the next big per­son com­ing out of Hilo to go to the pros, and it’s all up to you,” Wong said.

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