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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trapasso to allow his pitchers to bring heat


BY Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

UH ALUMNI GAME

WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Les Murakami Stadium

TICKETS: Lower and middle levels, $8; upper level, $6 adults, $5 senior citizens and $3 students

PARKING: $3

RADIO/TV: None

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There will be more power in University of Hawai'i baseball this season. Just not necessarily from the bats.

Some of the Rainbows' pitchers will be allowed to tap into their maximum velocity.

"We've got some guys that can flash some power arms at you," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "Sometimes, we focus so much on the command side that we've been sacrificing stuff. It's just that we've got some guys with some power arms and we need to focus a little more on getting the most out of these guys. If it means we walk a couple more guys here and there, that remains to be seen."

It's not something done on a whim, nor is it for every pitcher. Mechanical adjustments were made in fall workouts, Trapasso said. Among the pitchers trained were Josh Slaats, Connor Little, Alex Capaul and Matt Sisto. While they are high "velo" guys, they still understand that command is important.

"You don't start worrying about tapping into a little more velocity until (you) understand (that) if you're not throwing strikes, you're not going to pitch," Trapasso said. "Once they understand that, then you can go into those things."

The focus, Trapasso said, is getting the pitchers to be aggressive.

"When you have guys who can throw 89 to 92 (mph) range, what you don't want to do is hamstring them to pitch 86 to 88 because you want them to have pinpoint control," Trapasso explained. "We'll see. It's not an exact science. Some guys are more comfortable focusing on three-pitch command."

The Rainbows (32-26 in 2009) return nine of 14 pitchers. Senior right-hander Nate Klein (3-4, 5.10 earned run average) and sophomore right-hander Sisto (5-4, 4.37) combined for 23 starts last season.

Hawai'i makes its first public appearance in its annual alumni game, 1 p.m. Saturday at Les Murakami Stadium.

In the weeks leading to their Feb. 19 season opener against nationally ranked Oregon State (No. 10 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 14 by USA Today/ESPN, No. 25 by Baseball America), the Rainbows' pitchers have been grouped by days they are scheduled to pitch in scrimmages. Group A Klein, Little, JC transfer Zach Gallagher and Lenny Linsky is scheduled in the alumni game.

"Whether all four throw or not, I don't know," Trapasso said.

Freshmen position players who are projected to see a lot of action this season are outfielder Breland Almadova ('Iolani), a candidate to bat lead off, outfielder/infielder Kalani Brackenridge (Kapolei) and third baseman Pi'ikea Kitamura (Kamehameha), Trapasso said.

GAME TICKETS ON SALE

Single-game tickets for the season are on sale now, UH announced in a press release.

Lower and mid-level seats are $8. Upper-level seats for adults are $6, for senior citizens $5 and for students $3. Mānoa Maniacs tickets on the lower level JJ section are $5.

The school is encouraging fans to purchase tickets in advance to avoid lines on game day. Tickets are available at the Stan Sheriff Ticket Office 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 944-2697 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets also may be purchased at hawaiiathletics.com.

The Rainbows' first 20 games will be at home in five four-game series. There are three Pac-10 teams in Oregon State, Oregon (Feb. 25 to 28) and Southern California (March 12 to 15). Also in the first 20 games is The Citadel, which was third in the Southern Conference last season, and Air Force of the Mountain West.

Hawai'i's last nonconference home series is against Gonzaga, picked to finish fourth in the West Coast Conference.

The Rainbows' home Western Athletic Conference series are against defending league champion Fresno State April 9 to 11, Nevada April 30 to May 2 and New Mexico State May 13 to 16.