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Branden Kaupe, the full story
June 6, 2012 - Robert Collias
UPDATE (11:32 a.m.): The 40-round draft just ended and no other players with Maui County ties were selected in the three-day event.
As promised, here is my full story from today's paper on Branden Kaupe, the New York Mets' fourth-round draft pick on Tuesday:
WAILUKU - It was simple circumstance, but Branden Kaupe held his first news conference as a baseball draftee on Tuesday at Maehara Stadium.
Standing with one reporter near the stands where his parents and little sister watched him play for Baldwin High School, a small crowd gathered, including his family, passers-by, Parks and Recreation officials, Na Koa Ikaika Maui employees and teammates of his sister's state-championship Little League team.
As his mother, Joy, filmed the interview, the enormity of the moment seemed to flow over the 18-year-old switch-hitting middle infielder, who was selected a few hours earlier by the New York Mets in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft, 140th overall.
"I was called, like, two picks before the Mets picked me," Kaupe said. "We were kind of like on the edge of our seats, waiting and hoping that my name was going to be called and when they did call it, we were just all happy."
Kaupe is 5-foot-6, but stands as the second-highest MLB draft pick ever from Maui County, behind only Oakland Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki, a Baldwin graduate who went in the second round (67th over-all) out of Cal State Fullerton in 2004.
"Just being part of the names, being part of the guys who came out of Hawaii is pretty special," Kaupe said. "I honestly thought I was going to go later. One of the scouts told me the reason I stand out is because I'm not the biggest guy, the reason I stand out is because I'm small."
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