Hawaii baseball: ‘Find the Joy’ the mission as 2020 season begins

The Hawaii baseball team's new mantra is displayed prominently on the home dugout wall. / Photo by Brian McInnis

Joy was hard to come by in 2019 for the Hawaii baseball team.

Injuries and losses mounted in equal measure for the Rainbow Warriors, who came apart down the stretch to tie at the bottom of the Big West with two other teams.

The 2020 Rainbow Warriors’ mission statement is to “Find the Joy” and make it last throughout the season.

“The truth is for me personally, finding the joy is something I need to remind myself of,” said 19th-year head coach Mike Trapasso, who is 501-499 for his UH career. “You get away from that every now and then. But when you find the joy and you bring a better energy, you have more success. And if you don’t, you have more fun. And that’s what we’re about.”

UH, which was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference coming off a 20-30 (8-16 BWC) year, opens 2020 officially at 6:35 Friday against sister school Hawaii Hilo at Les Murakami Stadium.

Notably, the Rainbows have two position players back in the fold in outfielder/infielder Adam Fogel and infielder Dustin Demeter. Fogel went out with a season-ending injury after 10 games last year and Demeter missed the whole year injured.

Trapasso worked in the team’s new theme with their return.

“Demeter in particular is a different guy. He’s not as hard on himself,” Trapasso said. “He realizes that you have to find the joy in every day, and that we’re blessed to play this game. I think that lends itself to better leadership, and a better energy.

“Just the fact that those two guys are back, you can argue that they are our two best players. Anybody loses their two best players, there’s going to be an impact. Anybody gets their two best players back, hopefully there will be an impact, but a positive one.”

Senior right-hander Logan Pouelsen, who heads up a revamped pitching staff, is expected to get the starting nod on the mound for the opener.

Here’s interview clips with Pouelsen, Fogel and Demeter from the preseason:

The Rainbow Warriors went about searching for joy at their first practice of the preseason in January. / Photo by Brian McInnis
Record: 11-6 overall, 0-0 Big West
2/7/2020Hawaii HiloLMSW, 5-4
2/8/2020Hawaii HiloLMSW, 6-4
2/14/2020North Dakota StateLMSL, 1-3
2/15/2020North Dakota StateLMSW, 10-2
2/16/2020North Dakota StateLMSW, 11-3
2/17/2020North Dakota StateLMSW, 8-0
2/20/2020Washington StateLMSL, 2-6
2/21/2020Washington StateLMSW, 4-2
2/22/2020Washington StateLMSW, 4-3
2/23/2020Washington StateLMSL, 5-6
2/28/2020at VanderbiltNashville, Tenn.L, 1-5
2/29/2020at VanderbiltNashville, Tenn.W, 3-1
3/1/2020at VanderbiltNashville, Tenn.L, 5-7, 11 inn.
3/5/2020OregonLMSW, 6-4
3/6/2020OregonLMSW, 13-5
3/7/2020OregonLMSW, 7-6
3/8/2020OregonLMSL, 2-13
3/13/2020Chicago StateLMS6:35 p.m.
3/14/2020Chicago State (DH)LMS1:05 p.m.
3/15/2020Chicago StateLMS1:05 p.m.
3/18/2020TowsonLMS6:35 p.m.
3/19/2020TowsonLMS6:35 p.m.
3/20/2020TowsonLMS6:35 p.m.
3/21/2020TowsonLMS6:35 p.m.
3/25/2020at San FranciscoSan Francisco2 p.m.
3/27/2020at UC Santa Barbara*Santa Barbara, Calif.5:30 p.m.
3/28/2020at UC Santa Barbara*Santa Barbara, Calif.4 p.m.
3/29/2020at UC Santa Barbara*Santa Barbara, Calif.1 p.m.
4/3/2020Cal State Northridge*LMS6:35 p.m.
4/4/2020Cal State Northridge*LMS6:35 p.m.
4/5/2020Cal State Northridge*LMS1:05 p.m.
4/9/2020Cal Poly*LMS6:35 p.m.
4/10/2020Cal Poly*LMS6:35 p.m.
4/11/2020Cal Poly*LMS6:35 p.m.
4/15/2020at Cal State BakersfieldBakersfield, Calif.6 p.m.
4/17/2020at Cal State Fullerton*Fullerton, Calif.TBA
4/18/2020at Cal State Fullerton*Fullerton, Calif.TBA
4/19/2020at Cal State Fullerton*Fullerton, Calif.TBA
4/21/2020at PepperdineMalibu, Calif.3 p.m.
4/24/2020at UC Irvine*Irvine, Calif.6 p.m.
4/25/2020at UC Irvine*Irvine, Calif.6 p.m.
4/26/2020at UC Irvine*Irvine, Calif.1 p.m.
5/8/2020UC Riverside*LMS6:35 p.m.
5/9/2020UC Riverside*LMS6:35 p.m.
5/10/2020UC Riverside*LMS1:05 p.m.
5/12/2020at NevadaReno, Nev.6 p.m.
5/15/2020at UC Davis*Davis. Calif.TBA
5/16/2020at UC Davis*Davis. Calif.TBA
5/17/2020at UC Davis*Davis. Calif.TBA
5/21/2020Long Beach State*LMS6:35 p.m.
5/22/2020Long Beach State*LMS6:35 p.m.
5/23/2020Long Beach State*LMS6:35 p.m.
Home games played at Les Murakami Stadium
All times Hawaii time; schedule subject to change
*—Big West Conference game