Hawaii baseball: Mike Trapasso gladly accepts close wins and generous donations

UH baseball coach Mike Trapasso, left, spoke to Honolulu mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya at Sunday's Grand Slam fundraiser. / Photo by Dave Reardon

There will always be detractors willing to take the shine off of any victory. When the University of Hawaii baseball team (Manoa) beat UH Hilo in both games of the season-starting series over the weekend at Les Murakami Stadium, some focused on the closeness of the 5-4 and 6-4 scores. They would prefer blowouts instead of narrow margins against the Rainbows’ Division II cousins from Hawaii island.

“I don’t care how anyone looks at it. We won two games, and we’re going to be in a lot of close games, that’s the way our team’s constructed,” Rainbows coach Mike Trapasso said prior to Sunday’s 18th annual Grand Slam Celebration fundraiser event at the Stan Sheriff Center. “We showed the anatomy of what you have to do to win close games.

“A win’s a win, This early in the season you don’t worry about anything other than winning,” Trapasso added. “Obviously there are things we have to work on. But there were way more positives than negatives. Our pitching and defense was excellent.”

Trapasso noted that the Rainbows allowed only two “freebies,” total, in the two games: Manoa pitchers issued just one Vulcan walk in each game, and the ‘Bows were errorless in both wins.

Dustin Demeter, back after missing all of last season due to injury, hit a walk-off homer to win Friday’s opener. Then Kole Kaler had three of UH’s 11 hits in Saturday’s win.

As for the annual fundraiser, Trapasso expressed gratitude.

The players act as hosts of the event, and do a lot of the physical work of setting up and breaking down the arena for several hundred guests, who enjoyed food and beverage from many local restaurants as well as bidding donated prizes.

“It’s been a humbling experience because of the people that come, and the support we get (from restaurants and donors of auction and lottery prizes),” Trapasso said. “(The players) put in the work. They’re invested in it. They know people are coming here for them.”

Food was provided by Big City Diner, Hokulani Bake Shop, Honolulu Burger Co., Mariposa, Roy’s, Sansei Seafood, Side Street Inn and Superb Sushi. Beverages came from Heineken, Paradise Beverage, Coca-Cola and Southern Wine & Spirits.

Players welcomed guests at the Stan Sheriff Center. / Photo by Dave Reardon
Mike Trapasso talked strategy with his players. / Photo by Dave Reardon
The Grand Slam setup. / Photo by Dave Reardon
Some kim chee fried rice at the Grand Slam. / Photo by Dave Reardon