Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, July 27, 2001



Rainbows add 3 recruits

By Jerry Campany

Just a month into his new job, University of Hawaii assistant coach Chad Konishi is already taking a vacation.

The well-deserved break is being forced on Konishi, who helped bring in the first six recruits of the Rainbows' new era during the past month.

His boss' only concern was to send Konishi somewhere where he could get his mind off baseball. Konishi is going to Hong Kong for 10 days, without any expectations for him to bring back a few of the country's best players.

"Chad is such a hard worker," new University of Hawaii head baseball coach Mike Trapasso said. "He wanted to cut it (the vacation) short, but we had to give him a well-deserved break."

Konishi earned it by getting verbal commitments from three more recruits this week, wooing California high schoolers infielder Danny Mocny and right-handed pitcher Jason Piepmeier, along with first baseman Derek Snell from Tacoma, Wash.

The trio have not officially signed yet, but their packages were sent out yesterday.

Those three, added to three earlier recruits -- Mid-Pacific pitcher Ricky Bauer, junior college catcher Grady Symonds and high school infielder Jason Carlson -- make up the core of new players Trapasso hopes will start the Rainbows' resurgence.

Trapasso said that although he still has scholarship money available, he will continue to be picky about the players he brings into his program.

"We are not going to sign guys just to sign them," Trapasso said.

The new head coach said that he has a plan, and his coaching staff has already gone a long way toward carrying it out. He came into the job wanting to sign the pitchers that everybody else wants, some glove men for the middle infield, three catchers and some left-handed pop.

Trapasso believes he addressed three of those needs with his three most recent recruits, but could not comment until they signed.

Mocny played his high school ball at Maria Carrillo in Santa Rosa, Calif., and Piepmeier pitched for nearby Serra High School in San Carlos, Calif. The pair played together at a North-South tournament and performed well enough to be selected to a 20-man squad and travel to a tournament in Oklahoma.

Mocny originally turned Konishi down -- along with Long Beach State and San Jose State -- when Konishi was an assistant at San Francisco. But the high schooler snapped up the offer when he found out the coach had moved on to Hawaii.

Getting Snell, who was also being recruited by Nevada, was not a long, drawn-out affair. Konishi and Trapasso saw Snell play in a pair of summer tournaments about a month ago.

"I liked what the coaches brought," Snell said. "Coach Trapasso, he has showed he can win. I knew of him even before he ever contacted me."

Each of the recruits mentioned the coaching staff as the main reason they decided to spend their college years in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

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