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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Manoa, Hilo end baseball seasons with interisland series

 •  Rainbow, Vulcan statistics

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

It appears only pride is at stake when the University of Hawai'i baseball teams — the Rainbows of Manoa and the Vulcans of Hilo —face each other over the next two weekends before closing out their seasons.

Neither team can change its standing in the Western Athletic Conference. The Rainbows (23-27, 10-20 WAC) have clinched sixth place, while the Vulcans (5-39, 3-27) cannot escape the seven-team WAC's cellar. They are the only teams with losing records in conference and overall. They both enter the series with losing streaks —the Rainbows at three and the Vulcans at 14.

The interisland three-game series start Friday at Hilo's Wong Stadium and continues at Rainbow Stadium starting May 17.

For the Vulcans, these will be the final games for nine seniors: third baseman Billy Rayl, center fielder Brian Rooke, right fielder Ryan Petersen, catcher Todd Jinbo, shortstop Justin Kaneshiro, infielders Douglas Rhodes and Mike Hobbs, and pitchers Ben Siff and Darin Miyake. Jinbo, Kaneshiro, Petersen and Rhodes will graduate Saturday.

Siff, Saturday's starter, has been durable and reliable for the Vulcans. "You knew you could get five or six innings out of him every start," Vulcans coach Joey Estrella said.

Jinbo and Rayl got the most of their abilities, Estrella said. Rayl also contributed at first base, shortstop and pitcher during his career. The 5-foot-7 Jinbo was impressive behind the plate, throwing out 60 percent of potential base stealers, Estrella said.

Kaneshiro got his chance to shine this year after playing behind Davey Meguro and Brandon Chaves earlier in his career. Chaves was drafted and signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates last year.

Hobbs, Rooke and Petersen — all junior college transfers — were solid performers, Estrella said.

Rooke leads the team with five home runs and was the WAC stolen base leader in 2000. Petersen was the most productive hitter before a wrist injury last month put his bat on the shelf. He has since been contributing as a relief pitcher. "He's a not-bad pitcher," Estrella said. Hobbs was a consistent performer, starting in 42 of the team's 44 games.

Rhodes and Miyake also contributed as reserves. Rhodes came up with a number of run-producing pinch-hits, while Miyake was able to pitch in relief frequently, Estrella said.

This season is the last for the Vulcans as an affiliate member of the WAC. They will remain at Division I as an independent next season.

What's at stake for the Rainbows is a shot at a winning record. The Rainbows need to sweep the six games to secure a winning record. One loss and they face the prospect of a .500 season for the second consecutive year.

"Hilo will be our toughest series," UH acting coach Carl Furutani said. "When we both play each other, toss the records out. These are going to be the best-played game you're going to see. Hilo always rises to the occasion (against the Rainbows). I really believe this will be a battle."

The Rainbows will stay with the rotation they had against Nevada last weekend. Jeff Coleman, Chad Giannetti and Sean Yamashita are slated for the Rainbows against Zeb Watts, Siff and Anthony Bernal for the Vulcans.

Stadium update: A state House Bill to rename Rainbow Stadium after UH coach Les Murakami was killed in conference during the recent Legislative session. However, Senate resolutions requesting the name change did pass. Only the UH Board of Regents has the authority to name buildings or structures on UH campuses.