Wednesday, March 26, 2003


Senior Troy Hanzawa, a reliable, strong-fielding shortstop for the defending state champion Mid-Pacific Owls, may go to a junior college before trying his hand at a Division I school.

In good Hanz

Mid-Pacific shortstop Troy
Hanzawa is a defensive force
for the reigning champs

By Nick Abramo

IT was nearing the end of practice Monday when Mid-Pacific shortstop Troy Hanzawa stepped into the batting cage.

He let one pitch from coach Dunn Muramaru go by. The next one, a fattie, came right down the middle and Hanzawa hit a screamer over the fence 334 feet away in center field.

"I gave him that one," Muramaru admitted after practice.

Power hitting is not Hanzawa's forte, anyway. It's his fielding that makes him a special part of the defending state champion Owls.

"He's very consistent -- real consistent," Muramaru said. "He makes all the plays on all the balls hit to him. He's not flashy, but once in a while he makes a great play."

Many Interscholastic League of Honolulu coaches rave about Hanzawa's defensive ability; even catching the eye of Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso.

He's already signed with Yavapai, a junior college in Arizona, but he can still sign at a Division I school.

"UH is still looking at him," Muramaru said.

"They kind of like him because he's so sure in the field. He's only 5-foot-9 and a little light for college. It would help if he got bigger and more durable because they play so many games in college.

"But what he's got going for him is that nowadays there aren't that many good fielders, not many guys who can catch and throw like he can."

"Hopefully the path I take can get me to a good Division I school so I can get an education." --Troy Hanzawa, Mid-Pacific shortstop

Heading for Manoa isn't a stretch since Hanzawa played alongside former Owls second baseman Isaac Omura (who is now starting for the Rainbows) a year ago.

Hanzawa hit .319 last year and is off to a 5-for-9 start after three games. Muramaru said he's a gap hitter and not just an ordinary singles hitter.

The Mid-Pacific shortstop credits Muramaru with helping him in many ways.

"When I first came here from Wahiawa, I went from being one of the top guys to being on the bottom," Hanzawa said.

"And Coach Dunn brought me back up.

"He is always teaching us that playing for a team kind of resembles life. All his lessons are connected to life and baseball. He says you have to like the people you work with, make good connections and then things will work out."

Right now, in a sense, the Owls are testing their life skills. They're off to a 1-2-1 start in the ILH, so their success as the season progresses will depend on their ability to communicate.

"We've had our ups and downs, but I feel like we're going to do good," Hanzawa said. "The ball hasn't been rolling our way in certain games, but our team defense is a great part of what we do and it can take us far. We're not a big powerful hitting team, but the whole team is close."

Dependability is another of Hanzawa's strong points.

"He's a good kid that you can count on all of the time," Muramaru said. "He's the kind of guy that you would want your daughter to go out with. In fact, one of my friend's daughters does go out with him."

Baseball is in Hanzawa's future one way or another.

"Hopefully, the path I take can get me to a good Division I school so I can get an education," Hanzawa said. " The JC (Yavapai) is a place where you can show what you can do and maybe get a scholarship.

"I'll still be talking with UH some more and see what they're planning to offer.

"But if the chance isn't there (to play Division I), I'll still play baseball and try to pursue going higher. If I can't go higher, then I'll concentrate 100 percent on my education."

The fact that he can put it over the fence in BP won't hurt.

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