Teams can practice as often as they want, and hold as many intrasquad scrimmages as they can fit in – but there is no substitute for the real thing.
UH-Hilo’s baseball team learned as much during a five-game, season-opening series against Hawaii Pacific, which was punctuated Sunday with a 9-1 loss for the Vulcans at Wong Stadium.
“It’s always tough for the first series,” coach Kallen Miyataki said. “I felt we were ready, and we are not ready.”
In many instances, the 2-3 start for the Vuls was a case of little harm, little foul. Only the first two games Friday were Pacific West Conference contests (the teams split) and Miyataki said he went into an experimental phase during the final three games of the series — the team’s only five-game set on the schedule.
“I purposefully (coached) these games to see where we are at,” he said. “I needed to test it.”
In fact, because each school had problems enticing teams to come to the islands for games, UHH and the Sharks (8-2) will play again next week on Oahu in a four-game nonconference set. The Vuls return to Oahu for conference play in April.
Hawaii Pacific, which opened the season by sweeping Division III Howard Payne at home last week, took the rubber game this time around by staking Shane Adams to a 6-0 lead after three innings.
Adams (2-0) breezed through seven innings and was touched only by RJ Romo’s run-scoring single in the third, which scored Casey Yamauchi, who led off the inning with a single.
Fill-in starter Thomas Warren lasted 2 1/3 innings for UHH, allowing six runs on five hits and five walks with two strikeouts.
John Bicos doubled in a run in the ninth. Romo was 2 for 3.
Yamauchi, a Waiakea alum, finished his first college series 8 for 19.
In the end, Miyataki sounded like a coach who was 1-1 conference play.
“I’m happy and disappointed at the same time,” Miyataki said.