THIRD OF 3 PARTS
If Scott Squier had trust issues, he likely wouldn’t open the 2013 season as Hawaii’s ace.
A 21st-round pick out of Greenway High in Arizona, the 6-foot-6 left-hander chose instead to come to Hawaii, where coach Mike Trapasso immediately went to work on his throwing motion.
"It’s changed dramatically, like everything about it is gone," Squier said.
There were growing pains. In his first collegiate start last season, Squier recorded only eight outs, giving up seven runs on seven hits.
In his last five starts, not once did he last into the sixth inning.
Through it all, he never lost faith in what he was trying to do.
"I came in here with an open mind where anything they wanted to help me with and teach I was going to take," Squier said. "Nobody in high school ever taught me how to pitch so coming to a D-I (school), they’re going to know their stuff."
Trapasso has coached his share of pitching studs over the years and says Squier’s openness to change is one of the traits that separates him from other talented players.
"A lot of good draft picks when they show up initially are a little hesitant to make any changes," Trapasso said. "He has made changes in his delivery, in his mind-set, in his approach to everything … and that’s something that I’m really proud of when it comes to Scotty."
Even with his pitcher struggling to stay on the mound late into games, Trapasso was content to leave him in the starting rotation. He knew the payoff would come down the road.
"Regardless of performance, my intent was that Scott would get a start every series nonconference because he needed those innings to grow and learn and to get better," Trapasso said. "His numbers were generally pretty solid but he just didn’t pitch consistently enough to get into the seventh or eighth innings."
Trapasso and the Rainbows hope the payoff starts now, as Squier has been tabbed as Hawaii’s opening-night starter against No. 6 Oregon.
Since the end of last year, Squier has eliminated a hitch in his throwing motion and developed a slider he says has become "a big pitch for me."
It’s also made him more consistent in his location and his velocity, which ranges between 88 and 92 mph.
"I feel now like this is something I can actually work with," Squier said. "I’m comfortable."
And that should make opposing hitters feel quite the opposite.
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