HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warriors head to the desert on Wednesday, ahead of their season-opening series against Arizona State.
The non-conference series will be the first set of games the ‘Bows have played against a different team in nearly a year, after their 2020 season got cut short because of the pandemic.
As game day looms closer, the excitement can be felt through the entire progam, according to ‘Bows head coach Mike Trapasso — heading into his 20th season with UH.
“There’s no question, how experienced you are, how mature you are., you’re always going to feel like a kid at recess when you get that chance to play opening day and to be able to do it at, at one of the premier programs in college baseball history, I think just makes it even more fun.” Coach Trapasso told reporters. “Our guys understand that they’re appreciative of this opportunity, but more so than anything else, I think they’re ready to play baseball. They’re tired of, of scrimmaging and against each other.”
Like many other sports programs, UH baseball will have to be vigilant and flexible as they navigate a season during a pandemic — already down three players due to contact tracing.
“It’s the year of, of adversity.” Coach said. “If we’re going to have success, we’re going to have to roll with the changes, roll with the punches, understand that we have to be flexible and we can’t get emotional if something happens because it’s just the way things are going right now, we have to control the controllable and we don’t have control over all this, that that’s going on. What we have control over is how we react to it and how we prepare.”
Going into their series with the Sun Devils, UH was ranked fifth in the Big West preseason polls, despite returning numerous players from last year’s squad, a ranking that doesn’t quite sit well with players like UH infielder Kole Kaler.
“I think kind of everybody on the team was like, really, you guys are going to put us that low in the big West conference pole, but I mean the end of the day, there’s nothing we can do about that.” Kaler said. “That’s not us, but we’re going to go out there and we’re going to show these people that we’re big West contenders.”
In addition to the return of an All-American in Kaler, UH has a total of 18 local players on their roster — the most in coach Trapasso’s tenure with the ‘Bows — a key piece in the make up of the 2021 roster.
“It’s important for us, contrary to popular opinion over the years, I would love to have a local player at every position, but as you said, we’re going to go and find the guys that fit our culture fit, what we can do from a lot of different angles. It’s important that we have our local players, being able to shine here at Les Murakami stadium, I think that it’s important for them, it’s important for us, it’s important for our fans and we couldn’t be happier with the makeup of our roster this year.”
UH heads to Arizona lat Wednesday evening before a three-game series starting on Friday, then going into a doubleheader on Saturday.
First pitch on Friday set for 3:35 p.m. Hawaii time from Phoenix Municipal Stadium — streaming on pac-12.com