Nomura leads alums vs. varsity
Ron Nomura is 50 years old. Since he was a catcher, that means his knees should be about 100.
Hawaii vs. Alumni
When: Today, 1 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
Nomura played every game when the University of Hawaii had an 84-game baseball schedule in 1979 (winning 69 of them). He remembers playing first base in one game, but otherwise getting little relief at catcher.
"Catching doubleheaders and six-game series was common then," Nomura said.
His leadership and durability were some of the reasons Nomura won the Jack Bonham Award, the highest honor for a UH athlete.
And Nomura remains in good enough shape to take his whacks in today's alumni game against pitchers 30 years his junior.
"I don't play in the field, but I try to go up to bat," Nomura said. "Last year I had the opportunity to face (UH teammate) Richie Olsen's son (of the same name). I flew out to right and was happy I made contact. That's always a challenge for us older guys."
Putting the bat on the ball was quite an achievement for the Rainbows' opponents in 1979 when Nomura caught Derek Tatsuno. Nomura set an NCAA record with 560 putouts -- with almost half of them coming on Tatsuno strikeouts.
These days, Nomura's baseball workouts are with his sons -- Reid, 14, and Rick, 13.
Today the Roosevelt High School vice principal will put his experience as legendary UH coach Les Murakami's longtime assistant to use as he serves as coach for the alumni team.
As of yesterday, the alumni had only 12 former Rainbows (including Nomura) committed to the game, but more always show up. Hopefully some infielders appear, since those who had said they will come include three pitchers (Paul Ah Yat, Clary Carlsen and Justin Costi), two catchers (Tyler Cheff and Esteban Lopez) and six outfielders (Derek Honma, Matt Inouye, Todd Koishigawa, Robbie Wilder, Franz Yuen and injured Tim Montgomery).
UH coach Mike Trapasso will lend some players to the alumni if needed.
Nomura said he'll adjust on the fly.
"Good thing we have some young guys. It's kind of informal now and I just want to help out however I can, help organize something and give the varsity a game," he said. "We try to put a team out there where we can win, but we want to play everyone and not get anyone hurt."
Trapasso said he plans to start right-hander Matt Daly on the mound and have him split the game with left-hander Ian Harrington.
UH, which won 45 games and advanced to the NCAA regionals last year, opens its season Friday against Santa Clara with the first of a three-game series.
Nomura said he could tell during last year's alumni game that the Rainbows would have their best team in a long time.
"They had good team speed, left-handed pitching and hitting and solid defense," he said. "On paper, they look like they'll continue to have a pretty good team. They have a pretty decent core."