’Bows, Trapasso hurting in many ways after this loss
MIKE Trapasso summed it up succinctly (no, not the bad-words version -- this one):
"Only the games you come to this happens," the Hawaii baseball coach said.
OK, don't worry, I can help there. I'm willing to pitch in any way I can.
But seriously, that was all the kidding (at least I think he was kidding) Trapasso had in him after yesterday's 5-4 loss to Louisiana Tech. The 'Bows have now dropped two conference games in consecutive days and there's nothing even remotely close to being funny about that.
Friday night was an off day, a hiccup, a misstep, an out-of-body experience -- a fluke.
Those things happen, even to baseball's top teams. You're allowed a loss, now and then. Just don't let it happen twice.
"Today was tougher," Trapasso spat, "because we played just well enough to lose."
Yes, this one hurt. It hurt in the standings. It hurt in the gut.
You can say baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. But not college baseball. College baseball is more like a 5K. It's a long run, yes, but you can't afford to slip and fall.
You can't afford to lose conference series at home, the way Hawaii just did.
You can't afford to have your all-conference closer -- did some fool just dare write, on paper, that he was untouchable? -- lose it after a would-be double-play ball ended up in a run, after landing in left-center field.
You can't afford to let an opposing team get away with four errors -- and another booted ball that added extra bases to an infield hit -- and ride off happy into the sunny afternoon.
There were a lot of furrowed brows headed for Hawaii's dugout after this one. A lot of frustration. A lot of hurt.
And this is what we've been worried about, a series like this. The Rainbows these past few years have always given us reason to get excited. But then come the streaks of both varieties, good and bad. And everyone is puzzled and frustrated, including the coach.
Trapasso has seen this sort of thing happen a lot, how will he --
"You don't see this happen a lot," he said. "It's just baseball. You gotta play better. We haven't played well these last two games. This is not the way we played the 24 games coming into this."
I'm glad Trapasso is talking like this. He likes this team. Its character, toughness. Its grit. And in past years, during those maddening, baffling, inexplicable bad streaks, that wasn't always the case.
But he believes in these guys.
"They're fine," he said.
That's good. Because these guys are loaded with talent, it's true. But the last couple of Hawaii teams had talent, too. And yet they had those streaks. Those maddening, baffling, inexplicable streaks.
That's why the key to this season might not be hitting or pitching but the way the guys handle it when hard times arrive. And the way Trapasso handles it. And the way they handle the way he handles it, and so on, you get the idea.
These guys are good enough to win every game. It's all the other stuff that can get in the way.
So it's good to hear Trapasso talking like that. It's just baseball. They just haven't played well. This isn't really them.
And today all that matters is how they bounce back from two games like this.
These Rainbows can play. Matt Inouye was clutch to lead off the ninth, yesterday. Matt Daly continues to show good stuff. Ian Harrington went seven innings, and left with the lead. Esteban Lopez and Derek DuPree had two hits each.
Yeah, these guys can play.
But yesterday, they lost. Again. A conference game, let it get away. At home. They lost the series now, a huge chance, gone.
A lot of frustration. A lot of hurt.
They're ready to bite something, to spit fire, to scatter the bats. Losing that game. Like that.
So how do they handle this? What do they do now?
"You go out and try to win the next 22 conference games," Trapasso said.
That's what you do. That's a good plan. But these next few games I think I'm staying home, just in case.