UH baseball check in

Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso before practice in 2014. Photo by Craig T. Kojima/Star-Advertiser.
Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso before practice in 2014. Photo by Craig T. Kojima/Star-Advertiser.

Does this thing still work?

It’s been awhile since I last checked in following the 2015 UH baseball season. Not much to report from fall ball since all practices and scrimmages are closed to the media. UH will be switching to the third-base dugout for home games this year, so keep that in mind when thinking about purchasing tickets to the game. Also, the 2016 schedule came out a month ago, and here is the fall roster for your perusal.

The big news today is the release of Hawaii’s nine fall signings for the class of 2017.

Six of the nine signing are high schools kids with one (RHP Connor Zalewski) from Hawaii (Mid-Pacific). I watched a few MPI games last season and I honestly had never heard of Zalewski. So who is this kid?

“The truth is we’ve been watching him for almost two years now and the body has continued to grow,” Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. “He participated in our Hawaii wood-bat showcase on our field and here’s the guy who walks on the mound, he’s 6-foot-3, and all of a sudden he’s touching 88 (miles per hour).”

Six of the nine signings are high school kids and the first thing that stood out to me were the heights. All nine of them are at least 6-1.

Nick Belzer is a Tommy John kid who missed last season, but caught Trapasso’s eye at a showcase in Iowa. His first pitch of the tournament was 91 miles per hour and Trapasso watched him go four innings. He didn’t throw another fastball slower than the first one, staying consistently in the 91-92 range.

Dylan Vchulek led the Northwest Athletic Conference as a freshman last year with a .395 average and is a top of the lineup guy with speed.

Terrell Tate hit .321 at Moorpark C.C. as a freshman and was recruited as a shortstop. UH wants him as a shortstop to likely replace Jacob Sheldon-Collins, but he’s got the ability to throw 93 off the mound and is going to get more work in his sophomore year in junior college as a pitcher, which could increase his draft stock.

Right-hander Carter Loewen is another interesting signing out of Canada. Only 11 walks in 67 innings as a junior, which is what UH is looking for.

The following is the complete list of signings with quotes from the UH release.

2017 Fall Hawai’i Baseball Signees with Quotes from Head Coach Mike Trapasso

Alex Baeza – LHP/UTL, Jordan, Utah. (Jordan HS)
6-4, 185 lbs.
2015 stats: 6-2, 2.10 ERA through 60 innings pitched in 11 appearances, 44 strikeouts and .196 opposing average. Also batted .341 in 27 games, with six doubles, three triples and a home run, bringing in 22 RBI with 12 runs.
Trapasso quote: “Alex is a wiry, lean-bodied, athletic two-way player whose best baseball is ahead of him.”

Nick Belzer – RHP, Ankeny, Iowa (Des Moines Area CC)
6-1, 185 lbs.
2015 stats: Missed season

2014 stats: 4-2, 3.34 ERA in nine games with four starts, two complete games, 36 strikeouts and .212 opposing average. As a senior in 2013: 5-3, 3.26 ERA, Class 4A all-state third team. As a junior, 10-0, 1.24 ERA, two no-hitters in aiding Ankeny to Class 4A state title. Originally signed with Kansas State out of high school.

Trapasso quote: “Nick is a front-line, top of the rotation pitcher. He consistently throws in the low 90s with great feel for his off-speed pitches as well.”

Dustin Demeter – 3B, Gloeta, Calif. (Dos Pueblos HS)
6-2, 175 lbs.
2015 stats: Guided DP to Channel League Championship and was named to both all-Channel League first team and Presidio Sports All-City Baseball Team. Batted .333 with a .495 slugging percentage.
Trapasso quote: “Dustin is an athletic, left-handed hitting third baseman. As his body develops, we feel he has the potential to be a tremendous player.”

Adam Fogel – 1B/OF, Palos Verdes, Calif. (Palos Verdes HS)
6-5, 190 lbs.
Stats: Registered nine doubles, 19 RBI and 22 runs so far at PVHS, stealing six bases with a .325 on-base percentage.
Trapasso quote: “Adam is a very exciting player. He’s an athletic 6-5 with the frame to gain another 20 pounds. He runs well for his height and is a versatile player on defense, being able to play first base and corner outfield.”

Carter Loewen – RHP/INF, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada (Yale Secondary)
6-4, 205 lbs.
2015 stats: 3-7, 3.13 ERA in 12 games for Abbotsford Cardinals Premier Baseball Club, 45 strikeouts in 67 innings, walking only 11 batters. Batted .292 with seven doubles and three home runs, logging 20 RBI and 15 runs.
Trapasso quote: “We’re very excited about Carter. He’s a big, physical player that has the ability to help us as a pitcher and a hitter.”

Jacob Sniffen – OF, San Diego, Calif. (Westview HS)
6-3, 190 lbs.
Trapasso quote: “Another physical but athletic player, Jacob has a sweet left-handed swing and a frame to put on more strength.”

Terrell Tate – SS/RHP, Moorpark, Calif. (Moorpark CC)
6-1, 175 lbs.
2015 stats: .321 average in 35 games, with eight doubles, one triple, recording 13 RBI and 29 runs. As a senior at Alemany HS, batted .307 with a .402 on-base percentage, hitting seven doubles with 13 RBI and 20 runs, stealing 10 bases.
Trapasso quote: “Terrell is a tremendous athlete. He’s a quality shortstop with a good bat, and can also be a closer, throwing up to 93 MPH on the mound. ”

Dylan Vchulek – OF, Bainbridge Island, Wash. (Bellevue CC)
6-1, 195 lbs.
2015 stats: .395 average, six doubles, one triple, generating eight RBI and 20 runs, nine stolen bases.
Trapasso quote: “Dylan led the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference) in hitting last year as a freshman, but his most exciting tool is his defensive ability in center field. A plus, plus runner, Dylan is a prototype top of the order guy.”

Connor Zalewski – RHP, Honolulu, O’ahu (Mid-Pacific Institute)
6-3, 175 lbs.
2015 stats: Aided Mid-Pac to the HHSAA runner-up finish in 2015.
Trapasso quote: “We’re excited about Connor. At 6-3 and 175 pounds, he has a great pitcher’s frame. He’s touched 88 MPH and his best baseball is still ahead of him.”


  1. Nine Innings November 18, 2015 9:34 pm

    Coach, should be stacking his line up with power hitter’s year after year. No can hit, no can have a winning season…getting old. Hawaii, has no offensive identity for over 12 years now. Change is good, we should we winning championships year after year. Why aren’t we coach? Hawaii AD, needs to change its attitude. If the coaches are producing championship, a change needs to be made. Go Bows!

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