WAC baseball coaches name Hawaii co-favorite
But the coach says the awards mean nothing when the team hits the field for the first time
Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso is appreciative of the preseason recognition his team and players received yesterday from rival WAC coaches. But he also said the individual accolades should have asterisks next to them for now.
UH and Fresno State each received three first-place votes in the coaches' preseason poll, tying for first in the balloting (Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball have picked Hawaii to win the league).
Also, the conference coaches (who couldn't pick their own players) voted six Rainbows to the 14-player Preseason All-WAC team -- including Pitcher of the Year Ian Harrington.
The WAC coaches' dream team is somewhat skewed because Louisiana Tech (picked to finish third in the league) did not have any players on the ballot that the coaches filled out last week, Trapasso said.
"I'm obviously happy for any of our kids who can get some recognition like that," Trapasso said. "I don't know if they just missed it or their coach didn't want them in it. But there are three or four
guys on that team (LaTech) that could've been on that All-WAC team. They'll contend for the title, so you can't put any stock in that. Preseason rankings and awards you can take them or leave them, anyway. It's not a big surprise."
Fresno State outfielder Ozzie Lewis is the WAC Preseason Player of the Year.
Harrington, a senior left-hander, went 9-3 last season with a 3.99 ERA as UH won 45 games and advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 1993. Harrington, who pitched six shutout innings in Saturday's alumni game, is slated to start the Rainbows' season-opening game Friday against Santa Clara at Les Murakami Stadium.
These are the other Rainbows on the Preseason All-WAC team:
» Junior outfielder Derek DuPree hit .313 in 179 at-bats last year. He is ahead of schedule coming back from a torn ACL last summer and Trapasso said he'll be happy if he can play next week.
» Senior Eli Christensen batted .301 as UH's starting shortstop in 2006. Christensen missed the alumni game with flu symptoms.
» Senior third baseman Justin Frash led Hawaii with a .359 batting average, 60 games, 217 at-bats and 78 hits last season.
He is a candidate for the Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Award. Frash went 2-for-3 on Saturday.
» Sophomore catcher Landon Hernandez hit .250 in 40 at-bats last year backing up Esteban Lopez. Hernandez went 1-for-3 on Saturday.
» Senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Davis led the Rainbows with 24 pitching appearances last year. He went 2-2 with three saves and a 4.28 ERA and struck out 45 batters in 54 2/3 innings.
PRESEASON ALL-WAC TEAM
C: Landon Hernandez, So., Hawaii
1B: Gabe Jacobo, So., Sacramento State
2B: Eric Wetzel, So., Fresno State
SS: Eli Christensen, Sr., Hawaii
3B: Justin Frash, Sr., Hawaii
OF: Ozzie Lewis, Jr., Fresno State
OF: Brian Lapin, Jr., Fresno State
OF: Ryan Angel, Sr., San Jose State
OF: Derek DuPree, Jr., Hawaii
DH: Terry Walsh, Jr., Nevada
SP: Ian Harrington, Sr., Hawaii
SP: Ryan Rodriguez, Sr., Nevada
SP: Brandon Burke, Jr., Fresno State
RP: Tyler Davis, Sr., Hawaii
Player of the Year
Ozzie Lewis, Jr., OF, Fresno State
Pitcher of the Year
Ian Harrington, Sr., Hawaii