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A draft hopeful, Hawaii pitcher Logan Pouelsen sees his career go on pause amid coronavirus crisis

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM / FEB. 14
                                Hawaii pitcher Logan Pouelsen is still processing the thought that the baseball season is over.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM / FEB. 14

    Hawaii pitcher Logan Pouelsen is still processing the thought that the baseball season is over.

If things were normal, the Hawaii baseball team would be in the middle of its final nonconference series ahead of next week’s Big West opener.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these are not normal times. The Rainbow Warriors’ season is canceled, classes have moved to video chat, and the players remain in suspended animation.

“We’re sitting around and we’re like, ‘We can’t really do anything,’ ” said Logan Pouelsen, a right-handed senior pitcher.

UH is on spring break. But when the semester resumes, the campus will remain closed. The mainland players were given permission to rejoin their families.

But Pouelsen, who was born and reared in Huntington Beach, Calif., is among several mainland players who decided to remain in Hawaii. Pouelsen, first baseman Alex Baeza, their girlfriends and catcher Tyler Murray share a house.

“Even if nothing happens, I’ll still be out here for a little bit,” Pouelsen said.

It has been admittedly surreal for Pouelsen, who was part of the ’Bows’ resurgence this season. As a Huntington Beach High senior in 2016, Pouelsen and his 96-mph velocity were heading to UCLA. But then he suffered an injury to his right elbow that required Tommy John surgery. He then committed to UH, and gradually developed from a first baseman/designated hitter, to a two-way player, to this season’s series-opening starting pitcher. His fastball regained oomph, and he mastered three other pitches.

With his career on pause, he is a draft hopeful. There also is a possibility the NCAA will give players deprived of a full senior season an extra year.

For now, Pouelsen is coming to grips with a season without baseball.

“Once the NBA started to close, that’s when I realized we might get canceled this year,” Pouelsen said. Of last week’s canceled series against Chicago State, he said, “The first game day was kind of weird. It is what it is. We can’t do anything about it. It sucks.”

The players still are receiving scholarship checks during this hiatus.

Pouelsen, who is set to earn a degree in human development and family studies in May, had split his classload. “I had a couple in-class classes that are getting moved to online,” Pouelsen said. “With this new video chat thing, a bunch of people can go into a ‘room’ at one time. I’ll figure it out.”

For now, Pouelsen is taking it day by day, especially during recent inclement weather and social-distancing edicts.

“All three of us — me, Tyler and Baeza — we all wake up around 8:30, 9, and we kind of go how the day takes us,” Pouelsen said. “We play a lot of video games. With this weather, there hasn’t been much to do. That’s all we’ve been doing. We’ve been hanging out and playing video games. A couple of the guys have come over, and we had a little game night over here the other night. Honestly, we’ve just been hanging out at the house.”

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