Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

R A I N B O W _ B A S E B A L L


’Bows have
questions to answer

By Al Chase


The big question Hawaii head baseball coach Les Murakami faced when fall classes started was finding a replacement for shortstop Corey Miller, who turned pro last summer.

A second question now needs an answer.

Wakon Childers, who finished the 1999 season as the Rainbows closer, is scheduled to have surgery on his right arm Tuesday to repair a torn ligament.

"I've pitched hurt for the past three years. I took the summer off to see if rest would help," Childers said. "I stayed here and had the arm checked to see if it needed surgery.

"I had an MRI and had a doctor say everything would be all right. It just needed rest and rehab. But, it got to be where every day I'd go out and it would hurt so much. I don't play like that."

A second check of the MRI revealed a torn ligament. Childers will have the "Tommy John surgery" to correct the problem.

"They'll take graphs from a tendon on my wrist and place them on top of the ligament," Childers said.

He will redshirt for the 2000 season and have one year of eligibility left for 2001.

"I'm OK with that," he said. "I want to be 100 percent. I want to be out there every day. It got to be too much. I just couldn't do it anymore."

Childers had a 2-0 record with six saves and a 1.90 earned run average in 1999. He walked eight and struck out 25 in 23 innings.

Another Rainbow right-hander, Sean Yamashita, had surgery on his right elbow late last month to correct a problem that got progressively worse since his senior year at Pearl City High School.

"They removed a bone chip," Yamashita said. "They also found scar tissue and cleaned that out.

He is still in rehab but is expected to be ready for his sophomore season this spring.

The UH coaches would love to see Rory Pico, a Campbell High School graduate, healthy for his senior season.

If so, he would be the one to replace Miller, but he has been smitten with injuries throughout his Rainbow career.

"I'm fine. I'm able to go full speed. I'm just trying to buy an injury-free year," Pico said.

Two recruits who might have helped at shortstop will not be joining the 'Bows.

Jesse Acosta, an infielder from Central High School in Kerman, Calif., did not meet NCAA clearinghouse requirements.

Dany Scalabrini, who played at Seminole State last year, encountered transcript problems and decided to return to his home in Waterville, Quebec.

Two UH quarterbacks have decided to try out for the baseball team as walkons. Kevin Gilbride is a left-handed pitcher/first baseman and Shawn Withy-Allen is an outfielder.

Other walk-on candidates who showed up this fall include infielders Sol Ribella (Big Bend Junior College) and Matt Purtell (Santa Rosa JC), transfer pitchers Ryan Yamamoto (San Francisco) and Duke Tomimoto (redshirt freshman at Oregon State), outfielder Trey Richards, whose father played for the Hawaii Islanders, and designated hitter Michael Ogawa from Aiea.

The Rainbows, participating in conditioning programs and informal workouts now, start two weeks of fall practice the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Three weeks later they begin spring practice.

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