For baseball fans of the University of Hawaii, we are in some unchartered territory. At least unchartered since the early 90's. Because not since 1992 (the last time they won the WAC regular season) do the Rainbows have an inside track winning another WAC Tournament Championship and a possible return trip to the NCAA Regionals. Those years were the last of the so called "glory years" of Rainbow Baseball under former coach Les Murakami. An era in which WAC titles were expected along with continued appearances in the Regionals.
Last year's Tournament title was unexpected. This year as the #1 seed taking on San Jose St today (listen live at 3:50p on ESPN 1420 AM in Honolulu, or online at www.espn1420am.com), head coach Mike Trapasso's crew has a little more of a bullseye on their back. Kudo's to Trap for also being named WAC Coach of the Year for the 3rd time.
The Rainbows took 3 of 4 from the Spartans a couple of weeks ago at Les Murakami Stadium. A neutral field in Mesa, AZ and possibly more Spartan fans in the stands should motivate the players to not take them lightly. Although the pitching staff has carried the team through the conference schedule, there is no dominant ace. The starters have been complimented nicely by the relief staff lead by closer Lenny Linsky. Matt Sisto will get the first game start as he has done throughout the season but he has been a bit inconsistent of late.
All-WAC and All-American candidate Kolten Wong would liek nothing more than to get hot at the plate as he did in last year's Tournament. WAC teams have not given him anything to hit all year which has lowered his batting average but he still gets on and leads the conference in steals. Collin Bennet had improved over the past month at the plate to levels we saw last year. He could be a factor for the team's offensive output.
Should Hawaii win, they would play on Friday at 4:00p HST, against the winner of Fresno St v Louisiana Tech, wich is playing their game today before Hawaii. The WAC Tournament is a double elimination format with the winner gettin gthe automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals. Hawaii has a very limited chance at receiving an at-large bid so they would need to win the Tournament to move on.
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