It's Winnin' Time
May 22, 2009
Joe Edwards in Sports

For the Rainbow baseball team, it's as simple as that. Win as many games as possible, for as long as possible, and see what happens from there.

Anything is feasible. Ask Fresno State. After all, the Bulldogs kept winning games last year and they ended up national champs.

I'm not saying Hawaii has the kind of team to win the NCAA title, but the Rainbows should be good enough to play deep into the Western Athletic Conference tournament, which began May 21 at Murakami Stadium.

Should be. After all, Hawaii has been ranked as high as No. 20 this season. The team has bashed its way to a school home-run record and has played, at times, like a legitimate contender for a regional championship. For a while, coach Mike Trapasso says, his team was being talked about as a possible No. 1 seed in the regionals. But, that was before a seven-game losing streak knocked the Rainbows from near the top of the conference.

Now, Hawaii must win. And win. And win.

"Our minimum worst-case scenario is we get to the (conference) championship game," Trapasso said.

That's entirely possible. Play like they did at midseason, and the Rainbows are as strong as anyone in the conference. They were getting solid pitching, timely hitting and playing decent defense.

On the other hand, if they play like they did in losing those seven straight games, the 'Bows will be done come Memorial Day.

"If we can keep our (Ratings Percentage Index) under 40, there's no question we're in the conversation," Trapasso said. "Our entire body of work says we should be in it."

The coach knows it's better to win it all and gain the automatic berth into the NCAAs that goes with the title. Anything can happen when a selection committee meets behind closed doors. Or teams with losing records win their conference tournament.

Win it all or gain an at-large bid, one thing is certain: economics will play a definite factor in where Hawaii plays its regional game. "We've been told if we get in, we'll play wherever there's a direct flight from Honolulu," Trapasso said.

Given that the team might have played farther away from home had it been a No. 1 seed, that seven-game losing streak might not have been the disaster most of the rest of the Hawaii media made it out to be.

Joe Edwards can be reached at joe.edwards@eastoahusun.com.

Article originally appeared on East Oahu Sun | Your Community Newspaper (http://www.eastoahusun.com/).
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