HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii baseball team is set to open the 2021 season with a road-series against the Arizona State Sun Devils, after nearly a year of waiting to play.
‘Bows baseball was one of the numerous sports that got sidelined last year during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, halting the careers on many athletes like UH infielder Kole Kaler, who says Friday’s opening game will be the culmination of 10 long months of preparation.
Definitely a bummer for it to get cut short last year.” Kaler told reporters. “I mean, I’ve been working for 10 months, you know, 10 months working up to this season, so, I mean, last year was a good step for me, just to get my, like you guys say, get my feet wet, but I’m definitely excited to get out there this year and continue to show people what I can do and what this, what the university of Hawaii baseball can do. "
The junior is coming off a 2020 campaign that resulted in All-American honors, even though the season was cut short by COVID — Kaler the first All-American for UH since Kolten Wong and Lenny Linsky in 2011.
Despite 2020 being his first season in Manoa, Kaler plays like he’s been with the program for years, a level on confidence that is evident in his play.
“I’ve always been a pretty confident person.” Kaler said. “I’m just always believe in myself and you know, whatever happens at the end of the day, you know, it happens, but, uh, always definitely been confident in myself.”
The weekend’s series against the Sun Devils will serve as a bit of a homecoming for the Arizona native, who lived about 30 minutes away from the Phoenix Municipal Stadium where the ‘Bows will play ASU on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Unfortunately, no fans will allowed in the stadium, so the Kaler family won’t be able to see UH take the field for the first time in 2021 — the Kaler family, an integral part of why the infielder still takes the field.
“I mean, I think I’ve had it my whole life, I don’t really know where it came from.” Kaler said. “My parents just always kind of wanted me to be passionate about something and I’m definitely passionate about the game of baseball, that’s what I want to do with my life, hopefully I can continue to play as long as I can, but yeah, extremely passionate about the game.”
Kaler and the ‘Bows head to the Grand Canyon State late Wednesday night, before their first game set for Friday — first pitch set for 3:35 p.m. Hawaii time.