Friday, February 21, 2003


After a stop at Washington State, Justin Cayetano fulfilled a dream to pitch at UH.

second chance

The Mililani alumnus
had to make the grade
to leave Washington State
for the ’Bows

By Al Chase

Justin Cayetano thought his collegiate baseball career was finished after his junior year at Washington State, where he started 13 games for the 2001 Cougars.

Hawaii vs. Wichita State

When: Today and Tomorrow, 6:35 p.m.; Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

Where: Murakami Stadium

TV: Live, Channel 5

Radio: Live, 1420-AM

Tickets: $6 Orange, Blue levels. $5 Red level. $4 Seniors, children age 4-18, UH students in the Red level.

Parking: $3

The coaches who recruited him from Laney (Calif.) College were fired before he ever showed up at the Pullman, Wash., campus. Although he had signed a letter of intent and was locked into the WSU program, his one year there was not a happy experience for the Mililani graduate. To complicate matters, he fell behind academically.

Cayetano selected WSU because he wanted to compete in the Pac-10 Conference. He made the decision after listening to offers from Fresno State, Miami, Florida State, New Mexico, San Diego State, Arizona State and Hawaii.

"I went to Washington State because I wanted to see the best and they offered the biggest scholarship," Cayetano said. "I was used in relief the first two weeks, did well, and got to start, but it was not a good situation. By the middle part of the season I had lost my love for the game."

The left-hander came home. He continued to play, pitching summer ball for the Cubs in the Oahu League. That is where Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso watched Cayetano in action.

"Trap talked to me after a game," Cayetano said. "He said he was interested even with my academic problems, but I would have to redshirt a year and straighten those problems out."

With a second opportunity to play a final year of college baseball and to do it at Murakami Stadium, a dream Cayetano had as a youngster, he hit the books hard.

"I knew what I had to do," he said. "I concentrated on what's more important. All the coaches kept riding me all fall to become eligible. I knew this was my last year and there weren't many lefties on the team."

The prodding and his rededication to the academic world paid off. Cayetano came through with five A's and a B in the fall semester for a 3.8 grade point average. He is on track to graduate with a degree in sociology in December.

He also has come through on the mound with two solid outings and his first win as a Rainbow.

"Justin throws three pitches for strikes any time in the count, has tremendous poise and command of his fastball and possesses great competitiveness," Trapasso said.

Cayetano had an outstanding career at Mililani, pitching the only perfect game in Trojans history as a junior. He also pitched a no-hitter and three one-hitters as a senior.

A nonqualifier out of high school, his only option was Laney College and its baseball program, which has always attracted Hawaii players. Although there were 11 local players on the team, Cayetano wanted to come home after two weeks.

"My parents told me to stick it out. I was brought up to finish what I started and I didn't want to disappoint them," he said.

He stayed, and was an All-America selection both years while compiling a 22-6 record.

Cayetano's odyssey that began in the fall of 1998 has come full circle. He now is a happy baseball player in a Rainbow uniform. Now he is recognized on the street as a UH pitcher.

"Little kids look up to me and ask for my autograph. That was me 16 years ago," Cayetano said.

Probable starting pitchers

HAWAII (6-1)

RHP Chris George (Sr.) 2-0 1.59 14
LHP Justin Cayetano (Sr.) 1-0 1.93 12
RHP Ricky Bauer (So.) 1-0 4.70 3


RHP Mathew Jakubov (So.) 1-0 3.60 3
LHP Reuben Kerbs (Sr.) 1-0 5.40 3
LHP Steve Uhlmansiek (Fr.) 1-0 0.00 10

Notes: The Rainbows and Shockers have played 28 times with each team winning 14 games. ... The last time they met was in the 2001 Rainbow Easter Tournament with UH winning, 4-2. ... WSU coach Gene Stephenson started the season with 1,357 career victories, second on the list of active coaches behind Augie Garrido (1,387) of Texas and third on the all-time list to retired Texas coach Cliff Gustafson (1,427). ... This is the Shockers' 13th trip to the islands.

UH Athletics

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