POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 02, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 01:44 a.m. HST, Feb 02, 2011
Preseason recognition for Kolten Wong continued to roll in yesterday when the Hawaii junior was named the Western Athletic Conference preseason player of the year.
Wong, who in December was named to the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America second team, headlines four Rainbows selected to the conference's first team.
Joining the second baseman are designated hitter Jeff Van Doornum and pitchers Matt Sisto and Lenny Linsky.
Hawaii, the defending WAC tournament champion, was picked to finish second in the league in a poll of seven coaches. Fresno State, which won the previous four conference titles before UH beat the Bulldogs in last year's title game, was picked to win again this year.
"I'm happy for some of the guys getting a little recognition, but as far as everything else, nobody really knows what anybody's got until you see each team's new guys coming in and how they mesh with the returning guys," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said.
"I can say with no question that Fresno is the team to beat because they return nearly their entire team from last year. They are my dark horse for going to Omaha."
Wong was the only infielder picked not from Fresno State, which placed seven players on the first team, including first baseman Jordan Ribera, last year's player of the year. San Jose State senior Blake McFarland was picked as the preseason pitcher of the year.
The Rainbows, who advanced to the Tempe regional final before losing to Arizona State last season, received two first-place votes, with Nevada getting the other. Rounding out the top seven after the Wolf Pack are San Jose State, New Mexico State, Louisiana Tech and Sacramento State.
Wong had quite a year in 2010, leading the Rainbows to their first WAC tournament title in 18 years and second NCAA tournament appearance under Trapasso.
He hit .357 and led the team with 57 runs, 89 hits, 36 walks and 19 stolen bases. He ended his summer with a dominant run in the Cape Cod League, earning most valuable player honors after hitting .341.
Van Doornum and Linsky both were first team All-WAC honorees in 2010. Van Doornum hit .330 with a team-high 14 home runs and Linsky posted a team-best 1.69 ERA and a 4-0 record and 12 saves in 44 innings pitched.
Sisto's numbers as a sophomore weren't overly impressive, but he pitched the best of any UH starter down the stretch. He was 5-5 with a 5.27 ERA, but led the Rainbows to a win over the Bulldogs in the WAC tournament, allowing two runs in seven innings.
He did the same in the NCAA tournament, outdueling San Diego pitcher Kyle Blair, a fourth-round pick in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, giving up two runs in seven innings with no walks.
Sisto was teammates with Wong in the Cape Cod League, finishing 2-2 with a 1.88 ERA. He had a string of three straight starts in which he lasted at least five innings and did not give up a run.
The Rainbows, ranked No. 38 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll, open at home Feb. 18 against No. 9 Oregon.
|1. Fresno State (4)||32|
|2. Hawaii (2)||30|
|3. Nevada (1)||25|
|4. San Jose State||24|
|4. New Mexico State||16|
|6. Louisiana Tech||14|
|7. Sacramento State||6|
Player of the Year
Kolten Wong, Jr., 2B, Hawaii
Pitcher of the Year
Blake McFarland, Sr., San Jose St.