Kodey Shojinaga ’22, a rising star in collegiate baseball, is making waves as the Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year for the Kansas Jayhawks. His journey from Mid-Pacific to the Big 12 is a testament to his talent, the power of perseverance, and self-belief.
His baseball journey began at the age of five, and throughout his high school years he showcased his versatility, primarily playing as a catcher and infielder. Kodey entered Mid-Pacific in the seventh grade. Kodey and his family were drawn to Mid-Pacific because they believed it was the place where he could thrive.
“The two most memorable baseball moments were during my freshman year when we defeated ‘Iolani three or four times,” shares Kodey. “Another highlight was during my senior year when I was named to the All-State First Team and the ILH First Team.”
When the opportunity to play college baseball presented itself, Kodey chose to join the Kansas Jayhawks. His decision was driven by the desire to compete at a high level and be surrounded by some of the best players in the nation.
However, the beginning of his college journey was not without its challenges. Kodey had to recover from a metacarpal fracture in his left hand before the start of his freshman year. Despite this setback, he persevered through rehabilitation and rigorous training to earn a spot on the team. His dedication impressed Kansas Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald, mirroring the strong work ethic he had developed under Coach Dunn Muramaru at Mid-Pacific.
“It was challenging for me because I didn’t initially have a guaranteed starting position,” says Kodey. “But, I persevered, worked diligently, maintained a positive attitude, and aimed to be the best teammate possible every day.”
One of Kodey’s most significant sources of motivation has been his grandmother. Her inspiring words, “nothing is impossible; you have to look at it through the perspective that I am possible,” have shaped his mindset and drive throughout his career.
Kodey’s determination and drive yielded results in May 2023 when he was named Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year by the conference after ending the season as one of the best hitting freshmen in the entire country. When Kodey received the award, the team was in the midst of the Big 12 tournament, so his primary focus was on finishing the game. Only afterward could he truly celebrate this accomplishment.
“Receiving that award was a huge honor for me,” says Kodey. “Considering the abundance of talented freshmen in our conference, it was truly eye-opening to realize what I could achieve through dedication and commitment to both myself and my craft.”
Kodey aspires to leave a lasting impact as he continues his journey at Kansas. While he is already etched in the history books as the first Big 12 freshman of the year in baseball, he wants to be remembered for his infectious positivity with his friends and teammates, dedication to his craft, and his belief that everything in life must be earned.
Kodey Shojinaga’s journey is not just about baseball; it’s a story of resilience, passion, and the belief that with hard work, nothing is impossible. His message resonates with students of all ages: dream big, work hard, and achieve greatness.
*Translation provided by the Mid-Pacific Student Translator Committee: Riku Fujisaki ’24, Fiona Hahm ’25, Yumeri Haraki ’25, Riko Hashimoto ’24, Hina Hayashi ’24, Harang Kim ’25, Tony Lee ’24, Youngje Park ’24, Junsei Tanizaki ’24, Sydney Woolly ’24, Jenny Wu ’25 and Julia Yang ’25.