By Pat Hiester:
To kick off the USciences spring baseball season, the team was given the unique opportunity of traveling to Hawaii to play a five-game series against Hawai'i Pacific University.
The team and I experienced a mix of Hawaiian culture, history and baseball during our week in Honolulu.
Our first evening in Hawaii, the whole team was so excited to head to the beach as soon as we landed to test out the Pacific Ocean, walk on the soft sand, and witness the beautiful sunset over the water. This was only a taste of what was to come.
During the trip, some of the team enjoyed a mile and half hike up the side of the inactive volcano that is Diamond Head. Once at the top, the they took in the beautiful view of the island and the Pacific Ocean. Others ventured inland to experience a two-mile hike through the wilderness to reach the 150-foot tall Manoa falls, where the television show "Lost" was filmed.
After a few days experiencing the island, reality set in we were finally able to get in a practice on a nicely manicured field in the middle of Honolulu before rushing back to the hotel to change before a trip to Pearl Harbor.
While we learned about the tragedy of the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor in history class, when we arrived the experience of being on the site where so many lost their lives was transformative. Experiencing two museums and the USS Arizona showed us how important and sad this day was not only to the people of Hawaii, and all over America. Later that evening, we were able to lighten the mood, convincing Coach (Woodbridge?) to put on a grass skirt and give his best shot at the hula. Overall, that day we learned and experienced a lot that we'll never forget.
In the midst of all of these experiences we also got down to the reason why we were really there – our season opener and the first game against Hawai'i Pacific. My teammates and I got into our pre-game rituals and got excited about the season. Although the we lost the first game 7 to 1, we were able to pull out a win in the second matchup. Our third game we went out with a slate of freshman pitchers and Hawai'i Pacific jumped out to a quick 6 to nothing lead in the 2nd inning.
The Devils closed with a 1 and 4 record leaving Hawai'I, but this game was great to give all of the freshman pitchers experience in playing college ball. At the end of this game Coach Woodbridge couldn't have said it any better. He told us, "we competed with them up and down the lineup. We are right there; we just need to find ways to finish games. The season looks bright for us."
With hope for the rest of the season, the team took one last walk back to the beach and enjoyed their last full day in Honolulu.