Magana does it all

The junior has been productive
filling in wherever he's needed

Every baseball team needs a Schafer Magana.

The junior from Taylorsville, Utah, is the ultimate multi-role player on the Hawaii roster.

"Schafer is a very versatile player who really makes some decisions easy for you," said Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso. "You know he can go to any position in the infield and play them well to above average.

"He has battled and competed and clawed his way into being a regular. He is playing a lot more than I thought he might. It is because he wanted it and I am proud of him because of that."

The Magana files

Name: Schafer Magana

Likes: The State of Utah, snowboarding, the wilderness, fishing, hunting.

Favorite TV show: "That '70s Show"

Favorite movie: "Braveheart"

Biggest athletic thrill: Winning the Utah state baseball championship his senior year at Taylorsville High School.

Favorite subject at school: Three-dimensional art.

Favorite food: Mexican.

Quote: "I have changed my major three times, but now it is art and that is what I enjoy most."

Louisiana Tech at Hawaii

When: Today and tomorrow, 6:35 p.m.; Sunday 1:05 p.m.

Where: Murakami Stadium

TV: Live, KFVE, Channel 5

Radio: Live, KKEA, 1420-AM

Tickets: $6 Orange, Blue levels. $5 Red level. $4 Seniors, children age 4-18, UH students in the Red level.

Parking: $3

Magana, who has even seen outfield duty during scrimmage games, transferred to UH after one season at Dixie State (St. George, Utah) College after the Rebels finished second in the Junior College World Series.

Magana was recruited by Utah, Brigham Young, Baylor and San Francisco as a high school senior but decided on Dixie because all his friends were going there and the Rebels had a good baseball program.

"I wanted to play one year and get drafted," Magana said.

He did not get drafted and decided he needed a change. He wanted to play for an NCAA Division I school and did not want to wait until after a second year of junior college ball.

Magana talked with his cousin, Cortland Wilson, an infielder with the Rainbows at that time.

"Cortland told me there was a new coach coming in, that it would be a fresh start and that is what I wanted," Magana said.

His first season with the 'Bows was cut short by an injury to his right elbow and he received a medical redshirt year.

"I was supposed to have Tommy John surgery. My arm was killing me, but I decided not to get surgery after getting a second opinion from a doctor who said the ligament was stretched, not torn," Magana said.

He rested, then began slowly rehabbing the arm. He also changed his arm angle when making a throw from the side to more over the top. His right arm has been healthy ever since.

Last year Magana saw limited duty in 29 games and hit .219. This year his batting average is up to .273 and he has started 17 of the 26 games he has played.

"The thing I'm really happy about is what Schafer has done offensively," Trapasso said. "He has forced his way into the lineup and now he just isn't getting hits, but timely hits."

Magana, who has been splitting time at second base with Isaac Omura and has spelled Rocky Russo at third, has two game-winning hits in the last three games, against Sacramento State last Wednesday and in the series finale against San Jose State on April 4.

He is second on the team in execution, completing what the coaches call for 62 percent of the time. His best performances come in categories that include sacrifice bunts (7-for-8), hit-and-run (1-for-3), scoring a runner with the opposing infielders playing back (3-for-5) and scoring a runner with the opposing infield playing in (1-for-1).

"The truth is, these execution categories win games," Trapasso said.

Magana credits assistant coaches Keith Komeiji and Brian Green with helping him with his batting mechanics and making him more of a hitter who uses the whole field rather than being a dead-pull hitter. He also had his tonsils removed last summer and lived in the weight room following his recovery.

"I put on about 15 pounds and that has helped me mentally," Magana said.

"My swing has changed a lot. It seems like I am changing it all the time. You are always working on your swing to get it better, but during the season you want to stay the same. You can't think about it going into a game. You just go in and play the game."

A shortstop throughout his career, Magana feels that if you are good at that position, you can play the other infield positions. He does acknowledge he has a little more time at second and playing third is all reaction.

"All I think about is winning the game," said Magana. "I'm going to beat the other guy and do whatever I can to win."

Notes: The Rainbows and Bulldogs have played 16 games. The series is tied at eight wins apiece. ... In the previous 2004 meeting, UH won two of three games at Louisiana Tech. ... Matt Inouye is 8-for-11 in delivering "Rainbow Hits," a hit with two outs that scores a run. Isaac Omura, who has seen limited playing time due to injuries and a slow start at the plate early in the season, is 5-for-7 in that category. ... Brian Finegan has the longest current Rainbow hitting streak at eight games.


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