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Na Alii’s Grossman follows family connections to Utah

King Kekaulike High School’s Jaxon Grossman, shown playing for Na Alii in 2019, is the fourth MIL baseball player from the class of 2022 to commit to an NCAA D-I program in the early signing period. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER file photo

Jaxon Grossman is joining an impressive list of players from Maui to play NCAA Division I baseball or higher.

Grossman, a senior at King Kekaulike High School, signed a baseball scholarship agreement with the University of Utah earlier this month.

“It just feels really good to know that I’m like able to go somewhere after high school and just know already where I’m going to go before I graduate,” Grossman said via phone last week. “It’s pretty cool.”

Grossman is the fourth Maui Interscholastic League baseball player in the class of 2022 to commit to an NCAA D-I program in the early signing period, joining Maui High’s Luke Alwood, who is going to Seattle University; Baldwin’s Wehiwa Aloy (Sacramento State); and Kamehameha Maui’s Keoni Painter (BYU).

“It’s really cool,” Grossman said. “I’ve never noticed before people committing before the end of their senior year. … We have pretty good baseball, we just need to get exposed more on the Mainland.”

Grossman

Grossman said the Utes made perfect sense — he chose them over fellow finalist Oregon. His older brother Gavin Grossman is currently a sophomore student at Utah, and the Utes have told Jaxon he will be a hitter and a pitcher on their roster.

“I have some family in Utah and my cousin graduated from there and my brother’s going there right now,” Grossman said. “My uncle went there and I just have had a lot of family that has gone through there.”

Jaxon Grossman, who is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound right-hander, is glad to be home after spending his entire junior year at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah.

“Yup, I get to go to the beach and see friends I haven’t seen for a year,” he said.

He played for Mountain West Baseball Academy when he was in Utah. He has put on 40 pounds in the last year after upping his workout schedule.

“Moving to Utah helped me get on a travel team and being on a travel team helped me get offers,” Grossman said. “It really helped a lot. They just helped me get exposed, they helped me get looked at from Utah.”

He looks at King Kekaulike graduate Ryley Widell, a seventh-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2017, as a role model. Grossman often works out with Widell when he is home.

“It helps a lot, knowing that he came from King K and that he is a professional,” Grossman said. “He usually comes to winter practices at King K, he’s there every day.”

Grossman has blended the game he loves into his senior project at King Kekaulike. He is working on a making wooden bats — first he will complete an ash bat and then his final project will be a maple bat.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I’m going to use it at practice and see if the kids at King K will try it over at practice. My brother did that for his senior project when he was at King K — he had a bunch of fun doing it.”

Grossman is happy to be opening doors for fellow Na Alii players.

“Hopefully the kids underneath me stick to it and keep on playing and practicing,” Grossman said. “Just keep on doing it.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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