HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow baseball team have been masters of "small ball" this season.
Two of Hawaii's biggest spark plugs as of late, have come from its...let's say...more diminutive players.
Of course I'm speaking of the top of the order, where freshmen duo Stephen Ventimilia (listed as 5-8) and Kaeo Aliviado (5-6) have been terrors for opponents defenses.
In Hawaii's last three games, both have either extended innings by out running throws to first base for infield singles, or by advancing extra bases and getting themselves into scoring position.
For Aliviado, there may have been no better example of his speed, than during game three of UH's series with Fresno State.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, Piikea Kitamura drilled a pitch to the right-center field gap, Aliviado wheeled home, all the way from first, just in time to beat the throw home and score the game winning run.
"By Steve-o getting on base and stealing second and by me moving him over," said Aliviado. "it's a great feeling to just get another guy an at bat and another chance to score a run."
For Ventimilia, the series with the Bulldogs may have been the best display of his savvy around the bags.
During game 1 of the series with FSU, Ventimilia hit a slow roller up the first base line and in less than four seconds, he had outrun a throw to first base by pitcher Thomas Harlan.
"I can pretty much gauge where i can beat a throw out and where i can't," said Ventimilia. "Both of us to, being short, it's a little weird for a pitcher to see guys of our height and our speed to start off a lineup."
"Speed doesn't slump," added Rainbows head coach Mike Trapasso. "But it's a good weapon to have at the top of the order and we just need them to continue to hit the ball on the ground. Keep the ball out of the air, and use that speed.
During the Fresno State series Aliviado accounted for two infield hits, while Ventimilia also contributed a pair of infield hits and added a pair of stolen bases (note: he also earned an extra base advancement courtesy of a wild pitch).
On the season, Ventimilia leads the Bows in stolen bases with nine swipes in 11 attempts...although Coach Trap is quick to mention he's far from earning the title of the teams "fastest player."
"He loses to Breland (Almadova) in our 60-yard dash and it just tears him up. He hates that."
UH returns to action Friday when they host St. Marys in game one of a four game series.