FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Center fielder Brandon Haislet is one of five Hawaii players to earn second-team All-WAC honors this season.
No gold at the end for the Rainbows
Fifth-place Hawaii comes up empty in first-team All-WAC honors; five players make second team
RENO, Nev. » Hawaii was one of the teams that dominated the Western Athletic Conference preseason baseball honors, but no UH players made the All-WAC first team that was announced by the league yesterday.
Five Rainbows -- all position players -- were named to the second team. No pitchers received recognition; UH leads the WAC in ERA for all games played with 3.80, but is fourth in league-play with a 5.23 mark.
The WAC head coaches chose the team. They nominate their own players, but are not allowed to vote for them.
"I'm disappointed for our kids, because several of them may have deserved more recognition," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "That's not to take anything away from the players from the other teams that did get chosen."
Freshman designated hitter Vinnie Catricala, senior third baseman Justin Frash, junior center fielder Brandon Haislet, junior second baseman Jon Hee and senior first baseman Kris Sanchez are the UH players named to the second team.
The Rainbows' lack of representation on the first team may be partly because Hawaii finished fifth in the seven-team WAC's regular-season standings with an 11-13 record.
"We were under .500 in conference; it's not like we went out and beat everybody and didn't get anyone picked," Trapasso said.
UH is the fifth seed in the WAC tournament, which began today, and was set to play No. 2 seed and host Nevada at 4 p.m. today at Peccole Park in Reno.
"Maybe we can do it on the field starting (today) and be All-WAC as a team," Trapasso said. "Our kids are fine with it, they don't worry about that kind of thing. I'm the one who is disappointed for them."
Hee, who also made the WAC second team last year, said it doesn't matter that the Rainbows got shut out in the all-league voting.
"It doesn't really bother us," he said. "Whatever players made the first team are deserving, at least in the eyes of the (league) coaches. We're already motivated ourselves, so it's not like this will make us more motivated (to do well in the tournament)."
Louisiana Tech outfielder Brian Rike was named WAC Player of the Year. He batted .370 with 28 RBIs, seven doubles, nine home runs, and five stolen bases and scored 28 runs in 24 conference games.
Nevada's Ryan Rodriguez -- the hurler UH was scheduled to face today -- was named Pitcher of the Year. The senior right-hander went 8-6 with a 3.59 ERA. He is the WAC's active career leader in wins (31), innings pitched (389.2) and strikeouts (323).
Louisiana Tech coach Wade Simoneaux was picked Coach of the Year.
Nevada first baseman Shaun Kort was voted Freshman of the Year. He hit .424 in 24 conference games. Kort had 23 RBI, nine doubles, three home runs and 17 runs scored. In all games, he leads the WAC with a batting average of .398 and has 47 RBIs, 15 doubles, four triples, five home runs and has 40 runs scored.
Fresno State led the conference with six players on the All-WAC first team. Both Louisiana Tech and Nevada had four, while Sacramento State placed one on the first team. Repeat first-team selections from 2006 were Fresno State's Erik Wetzel, Loren Storey and Steve Susdorf and Louisiana Tech's Brandon Hudson.