Heart-breaking loss par for the course for 'Bows


POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2009

This is how it goes for Jayson Kramer.

This is how it goes for Hawaii baseball lately after such a promising beginning.

For Kramer, do the ace's job. Hand it off, and then, as often as not, watch it disappear.

For the Rainbows, start off well, fade, come back, and then see it gone, just like that—in this case, one swing of Clint Ewing's bat, the ball over the fence.

The Rainbows and the big crowd at Les Murakami Stadium dumbfounded.

Kramer set the tone every week, eating up innings, taking on the best every nonconference powerhouse and conference rival had to offer.

Last night to open the WAC tournament was no different, as he went 6 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits but no walks and two runs, one earned. One strikeout.

As has happened often this season, Kramer left without an opportunity to get the win.

But he's earned it. Ace.

And last night, like other times this season, it wasn't enough. Shaky defense and 13 Rainbows left on base did him in.

FOR A WHILE early, they were the Rainbows of old. We're talking the 'Bows up to mid-April, the ranked team that had yet to suffer shell shock in Las Cruces, N.M., the club that had yet to lose four straight at home to the same LaTech team it faced last night.

Just the tournament draw, but a coincidental insult that the Bulldogs were designated home team. After the series sweep at Les Murakami Stadium three weeks ago, LaTech came in with no fear of the unknown.

But UH took control early, manufacturing runs in the first and the fourth, light-hitting backup catcher Kevin Fujii coming through with a bouncer through the drawn-in infield, plating Matt Roquemore, who had tripled for a 2-0 lead.

Then, a beautiful throw from Sean Montplaisir to Fujii, in plenty of time to nail Kevin Winn at home.

Kramer, sailing through four scoreless. But through choppy water, nothing easy for him. Even the 1-2-3 bottom of the second required a spectacular catch by center fielder Kolten Wong. He hauled in a shot straight over his head that appeared destined to bang off the fence.

This was what the big crowd had been waiting for, a return to postseason glory at Les Murakami Stadium, even if UH was technically the visitor.

THINGS GET TENSER rather quickly, though.

An unearned run in the sixth on Kramer's own miscue. And a game-tying homer to right by Devon Dageford.

Still, Kramer had done the ace's job, gutting it out, mixing them up. He left after 78 pitches, giving way to Sam Spangler, who got out of the seventh.

Before you could say “;Fujii again,”; momentum and the lead, back to UH. The backup to injured Landon Hernandez walks, moves to third on an error and scores on reliever John Anderson's wild pitch.

A roar from the big crowd when Spangler gets out of man-on-second-none-out trouble in the eighth, and again as he notches the first out of the ninth after a Mark Threlkeld single.

Then, Ewing's blast. Two runs, game over. LaTech, five in a row.

And other than cheers and shrieks from the Bulldogs and their fans, nothing at Les Murakami Stadium.

Absolutely nothing but shock at another disappointment.

Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “;Quick Reads”; blog at starbulletin.com, and twitter.com/davereardon.