UH lucky to land Hernandez
Before last year's draft, Landon Hernandez told Mike Spiers, his summer baseball team coach, that he wanted to go to college and that pro scouts should not waste a pick on him.
San Jose State at Hawaii
When: Today and tomorrow, 6:35 p.m.; Sunday 1:05 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium.
TV: Live, KFVE, Channel 5
Radio: Live, KKEA, 1420-AM
Tickets: $7 orange and blue sections; $6 red section; $5 seniors, and $3 students ages 4-18, UH students in the red section.
"I never really talked to any scouts, but I hope there was interest," said Hernandez, who definitely wants to play for pay in the future.
"It was a no-doubter that I wanted to go to college because I didn't want to go back after playing baseball. I wanted to get started on my degree."
A standout in baseball and basketball at Desert Chapel High School in Palm Springs, Calif., Hernandez received interest from Southern California, UC Irvine, Louisiana State and New Mexico. His only recruiting trip was to Hawaii. That was all he needed to make a decision -- he canceled a trip to LSU the following week.
"I knew as soon as I came here. I loved the big stadium and playing in front of a lot of fans," said Hernandez, who signed his letter of intent during the early period in November 2004. "They treat the players like pros here. They get put on TV all the time."
Hernandez rarely caught in high school, where he pitched and played other positions. But with Spiers' American Baseball Development traveling team, he was the catcher.
"Mike's philosophy was your experience comes from playing games. We were always traveling. We would come home just long enough to wash clothes and take off again," Hernandez said.
He knew there were two senior catchers, Esteban Lopez and Matt Inouye, ahead of him when he signed with UH.
"I knew I would have to sit, but even sitting on the bench you are still in the game and better be prepared. You never know when you have to go in. Good players take those opportunities and make the most of it," Hernandez said.
He has played in nine games and is hitting .321 with a double and four RBIs.
"Landon knows his role and knows he is our catcher of the future. He is a confident kid. He has done a very good job as a freshman," said UH coach Mike Trapasso.
Hernandez says he has many aspects of his game to work on.
"Landon has made a good adjustment on how to catch, how to receive baseballs," said assistant coach Keith Komeiji. "He has learned how to catch to make pitches that are close look like strikes. That's my big thing.
"He asks a lot of questions and tries to grasp as much information as he can to make himself better. He is still learning both sides of the game."
Hernandez also is working on blocking pitches in the dirt, not letting the ball play him, catching the outside of the ball, his footwork when he makes throws and learning how to handle the individual differences of each pitcher on the Rainbows staff.
He is not superstitious, just gets ready for a game and goes with the flow.