UH Baseballâ€™s Kaua‘i Tradition
The Garden Isle has had its share of stars who graced the field at Rainbow Stadium – or Les Murakami Stadium, as it’s affectionately known today. From Waimea High’s Norman Holt Jr. to Ross Kagawa and Kaua’i High’s Mark Rodrigues, it’s rare to see a University of Hawaii baseball roster without a Red Raider, Warrior or Menehune.
This season is no different, as both Kalani Brackenridge and Trent Allianic’s names will be heard loud and clear through the loudspeakers at the Manoa field. Brackenridge, a sophomore outfielder, began his prep baseball career at Kaua’i High and then transferred to Kapolei High on Oahu. Meanwhile, Allianic, once a teammate of Brackenridge’s at the Lihu’e school, finished up a stellar freshman season on the mound as a relief pitcher.
“I feel that my freshman season went good,” Allianic says. “It was a time for me to experience the change from one level of baseball to the other, and by getting some playing time, helped me adapt to college baseball, as the players are much stronger and faster and don’t let mistake pitches get by them very much.”
Allianic chose UH because he wanted to play in front of his family and friends. Also taking a look at him were Oregon State, Oregon, UCSD, UC-Davis, USF and Puget Sound.
“I wanted to represent Hawaii, with all the other Hawaii-grown baseball players on the team,” he says.
Last season was a roller-coaster ride for Allianic and the Rainbow baseball team, as it picked up momentum at the right time, running the table at the WAC tournament and advancing to the championship game of the NCAA regionals, before falling to top-ranked Arizona State.
“Winning the WAC was great,” he says. “We made a huge run at the end, where we peaked, and going to the NCAA regional in Tempe was quite surreal.”
But that success comes with high expectations, and Allianic and company know the outlook for this season is keeping things in perspective.
“We are just going to take it one game at a time and focus on one pitch at a time,” Allianic says “We got strength of schedule, ranked in the top 10 in the nation this year, and that is only going to help us deal with adversity, as Coach (Mike) Trapasso said.”
The former Red Raider has advice for Kaua’i-born players who aspire to be where he is one day:
“Just believe. If you want to make it to the next level, you need to believe in yourself and work hard every day. You might not get a lot better in one day, but getting a little better every day is just as good. And the most important thing is education. If you don’t study in school and get bad grades, don’t think of playing college baseball. Coaches look at your grades when looking for their players, and if you don’t make the requirements, they’ll just move on to the next player.”
That’s great advice coming from a student-athlete who doesn’t forget where he came from.
“Being the only Kauai-born baseball player besides Kalani (Brackenridge) is an awesome feeling,” Allianic says. “Going out there on the field every day, knowing that motivates me to work that much harder, because I am representing the Island and I want to make Kaua’i proud along with my family and friends.”
Allianic, Brackenridge and the 38th-ranked Rainbow baseball team kicks off its season Friday at home against No. 9 Oregon.