Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, April 27, 2001


Toughness makes Jeff Coleman the Rainbows' ace.

Toughness the key
for Coleman

By Al Chase

Jeff Coleman's favorite sport in high school was wrestling, a you vs. the other person in close encounter combat.

UH He earned four letters at San Dimas (Calif.) High School and was a three-time, all-Valley Vista League wrestler.

When the University of Hawaii starting pitcher fires a pitch toward home plate, for a second or two, he is in one-on-one combat with the batter. He sees a similarity between baseball and wrestling.

"It's about being mentally tough. If you're not mentally tough when you wrestle, you're not going to win," Coleman said. "As a pitcher, the tougher you are in the head, the tougher you are. When I pitch a good game, I'm more tired mentally than I am physically."

Lately, the 5-foot-10 right-hander, winner of three of his last four starts and 5-5 overall, has needed mental recuperation. He already has a routine to handle the physical part, as acting head coach Carl Furutani found out after the victory at Texas Christian.

"Jeff called me and said he wanted to work out at 8:45 a.m. the next day," Furutani said.

Coleman believes the early morning exercise gets good blood flow through the right arm to remove the lactic acid from the muscles.

He has been the Rainbows' opening-game pitcher in every series but one this season, a role he became used to in high school and for two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College.

Yet, Coleman quit playing high school baseball four games into his senior season.

Rainbow pitcher Jeff Coleman has won three of his last
four starts. He pitches tonight against Oregon State.

"I had hit a grand slam at home in front of family and friends, but knew when I got home that night I wasn't having any fun," Coleman said. "I still loved the game and knew I would play again the next year in junior college."

Coleman learned how to throw an effective change-up in junior college after being a fastball-curveball pitcher in high school. There were other lessons to be learned.

"They taught me that location is more important than velocity. I learned how to come inside on batters. Before that, I was basically a low-and-away pitcher," Coleman said.

Since joining the Rainbows, he has added the slider to his assortment.

Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton and Lewis-Clark State recruited Coleman out of junior college, but a telephone call to the UH coaches from Mt. San Antonio assistant Jim Ramos provided Coleman with the opportunity to get away from home.

"There are too many distractions living close to home. I wanted to get away so I could concentrate on baseball," said Coleman, who hopes to be drfated in June.

"I'm really happy with all the decisions I made," he said. "When I went to junior college I enjoyed going to practice again. It's just been a continuation here."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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