ALL-WAC BASEBALL TEAM
Wright, Trapasso receive WAC honors
UH has the conference's pitcher and coach of the year, plus three other first-team selections
FRESNO, Calif. » The Hawaii Rainbows had four first-team and four second-team players on the 2006 All-Western Athletic Conference baseball team announced last night at the league's postseason tournament banquet.
Mike Trapasso was named the WAC Coach of the Year after the Rainbows improved to 40-13 from 28-27 in 2005.
The top UH individual honor went to right-hander Steven Wright, who was named the WAC Pitcher of the Year.
"I was kind of expecting it because of the stats I had, but I couldn't have done it with the defense," Wright said. "They saved me runs so many times. And without the bullpen to preserve wins I wouldn't have had six wins in the WAC. It definitely was a team effort."
Joining Wright on the first team were senior outfielder Robbie Wilder, senior first baseman Luis Avila and junior reliever Tyler Davis.
The Rainbow second-team members were sophomore second baseman Jon Hee, junior shortstop Eli Christensen, senior right-hander Justin Costi and senior outfielder Matt Inouye.
Wright has been the Friday pitcher for UH since the season began. The junior from Moreno Valley, Calif., won 10 of 12 decisions this spring and fashioned a 2.48 earned-run average while holding opposing batters to a .207 average. In 101 2/3 innings, Wright walked 19 and struck out 110.
Wilder, beset with injuries his first two seasons at Manoa, put together the kind of campaign he and the coaches expected when the transferred to UH. Playing both left and center field, Wilder is the second-leading hitter on the team with a .343 average, tops the 'Bows with a .494 on-base percentage and has been successful on 14 of 19 stolen-base attempts.
"I was definitely happy and excited as anyone would be," said Wilder. "It was good to see more green shirts come up afterward to be honored."
Avila stepped in at first base in the third game of the season and became a fixture there, as well as in the clean-up spot in the batting order. The Caracas, Venezuela, native led the Rainbows with 17 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 51 runs batted in. He also handled 462 chances at first base and made just five errors for a .989 fielding percentage.
"It's a reward for all the hard work during the summer and fall and for the type of season we are having," said Avila. "I was really happy. It feels good."
Davis, who is featured in an accompanying story, said "I didn't know what to think when I heard my name. It was kind of a surprise."
Hee and Christensen manned the middle infield with excellent range and accuracy on their throws. Between them, they handled more than 400 hundred chances and were charged with just 19 errors.
Christensen hit .305, but found increasing success at the plate in conference games, leading the 'Bows with a .392 average that included one clutch hit after another.
Hee finished the regular season at .284. After struggling for a period while recovering from a shoulder injury, Hee has felt better at the plate recently, hitting safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
Costi had an ERA of 15.88 following his second start of the season against Hawaii Pacific. Since then he has won eight of nine decisions and reduced his ERA to 3.45 heading into the WAC postseason tournament. A control pitcher who needs to keep the ball down and have good location, he walked 17 while fanning 63 in 75 2/3 innings.
Inouye brings a .333 average into the double-elimination tournament, fourth best on the team. The right fielder is third with 30 RBIs and has stolen 14 bases in 17 attempts.
"I am happy for our players. The awards are well-deserved, obviously," Trapasso said. "For my award, I feel it is a team award. The players and assistant coaches do all the work and I get an award."
All-WAC baseball team
Player of the Year--Christian Vitters, SS, Fresno State.
Pitcher of the Year--Steven Wright, Hawaii.
Freshman of the Year--Jericho Jones, OF, Louisiana Tech.
Coach of the Year--Mike Trapasso, Hawaii.
Buddy Morales, C, Sacramento State. Luis Avila, 1B, Hawaii. Erik Wetzel, 2B, Fresno State. Vitters, SS, Fresno State. Beau Mills, 3B, Fresno State. Shawn Scobee, OF, Nevada. Jones, OF, Louisiana Tech. Robbie Wilder, OF, Hawaii. Loren Storey, OF, Fresno State. Brandon Hudson, UTI, Lousiana Tech. Steve Susdorf, DH, Fresno State. Wright, SP, Hawaii. Doug Fister, SP, Fresno State. Andy Underwood, SP, Fresno State. Tyler Davis, RP, Hawaii.
Mims Boyce, C, Louisiana Tech. Kent Sakamoto, 1B, Fresno State. Jonathan Hee, 2B, Hawaii. Eli Christensen, SS, Hawaii. David Flores, 3B, Sacramento State. Brian Lapin, OF, Fresno State. Durell Williams, OF, Nevada. Matt Inouye, OF, Hawaii. Vince Rodden, OF, New Mexico State. Ryan Angel, UTI, San Jose State. Terry Walsh, DH, Nevada. Branden Dewing, SP, San Jose State. Justin Costi, SP, Hawaii. Eddie Romero, SP, Fresno State. Andrew Alsup, RP, Louisiana Tech.