The Rainbow Warriors are heading to Regional play for the first time since 2006, when they lost in the Corvallis Regional to eventual College World Series champion Oregon State, and Josh Slaats has been a big part of Hawaii’s success. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound righty has enjoyed a nice turnaround on the mound, serving as Hawaii’s ace this spring with his move to a starting role after pitching out of the bullpen last year.
1. Congrats on making Regionals. Are you and your teammates doing anything differently now that you have entered the postseason.
JS: Oh yeah, thank you, it’s exciting.
Not really, we’re just going out there and having fun, playing well, playing together and being a team. We were in Mesa for the WAC tournament, so since we won our bracket we just drove right over to Tempe.
2. What have you improved upon this year that has allowed you to improve so much since your sophomore and freshman years?
JS: I think I definitely matured as a player, and (I worked on) a few mechanical things. Confidence really got me going. I fixed a few things that really helped my delivery and from there I just went with my confidence and my mentality and that’s why I was so successful this year.
3. What’s it like playing in paradise on the island?
JS: It’s great. The weather’s always good, it’s consistent, so you always know what you’re going to be dealing with. It’s a great atmosphere with the fans and the stadium. It’s a great experience.
4. What’s your repertoire, and what’s your best pitch?
JS: I throw a fastball, slider and a change. My fastball is usually 88 to 91, my slider is probably around 81, 80 to 82. My changeup I actually don’t know how hard I throw it. It kind of changes from each outing, that’s the one pitch I’m still working on.
Personally I like my slider, I think that’s my out pitch. I think that gives me the most success with runners on base.
5. While I know you’re thinking about Regional play first, the draft awaits a few short days after that. Do you have any expectations or plans for draft day?
JS: No expectations. As for plans, I just hope I can be with my family. I’m just hoping for the best and plan for anything to happen.