The 2021 season for the University of Hawaii baseball team started with promise, as the Rainbow Warriors were 11-3, ranked No. 30 in the country by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and winners of their first conference series of against Long Beach State.
After its hot start, UH faltered down the stretch. The ‘Bows lost 11 of their final 12 games, ending its year with a four-game sweep at Cal Poly, to finish 24-26 overall and 16-24 in Big West Conference play.
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The year gradually became a disappointment for Hawaii head coach Mike Trapasso, who finished his 20th season at the helm in Manoa.
“We failed in the wins and losses part of it,” Trapasso told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello following Sunday’s loss. “But I tell you what, the season just starting from showing up in the fall and not having a fall and having just guys go out and work out on their own and finding a way to still be together and be a team and every other day, Zooms with the guys in the fall and then coming in and just going out and battling.
“We had our ups and downs and unfortunately, we finished on a down and that really bothers me because we were playing so well three weeks ago. We just ran out of gas and finished with a whimper but when you talk about life lessons, I don’t know if anyone has gone through what these kids have gone through in all of college baseball. Not having a fall, the pandemic, the travel that we went through but at the end it didn’t show positively on the scoreboard and that’s disappointing.”
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the NCAA Division I baseball tournament is set for a 2021 return, beginning on Friday. The 2021 tournament marks the 10th straight edition where the field didn’t include the UH baseball team. Trapasso, who has a career record of 536-531 at UH, has led the ‘Bows to NCAA regionals two times during his UH tenure.
The 2021 season was the final year of Trapasso’s contract. It is currently unclear when exactly the contract is set to expire. For now, Trapasso is planning to hit the recruiting trail on June 8.
“We’ve been finally given a go ahead by the NCAA to get out and start recruiting on June 8, so we’re actually headed home (Sunday) and we’ll take a week to try and put this season to bed and take a look at some things,” Trapasso. “We’ve got our kids placed in summer ball and try to help our guys get ready for that and then a week later, it’s going to be on the road and starting the next recruiting cycle and trying to figure out all the time how we can get better. You start by getting good players but it also starts with self-reflection and getting better as a coach.”