Saturday, April 24, 1999

W A H I N E_ S O F T B A L L

Wahine give
Coolen 300th
win at Hawaii

By Pat Bigold


Bob Coolen coached his 300th Rainbow Wahine softball win last night as right-hander Kelly Gentle pitched a four-hit complete game 9-2 victory over San Jose State.

But the 41-year-old Massachusetts-born Coolen, who has lost 184 and tied one during eight seasons here, was quick to tip his cap to the land Down Under for his milestone.

Gentle, who recorded her school record 76th win, and former Wahine Brooke Wilkins, who had 58 wins in two seasons (1994-95), account for 134 of Coolen's W's at the Manoa campus. (He is 372-278-1 overall in his career.)

"If Brooke had stayed, he'd be wa-a-a-y up there," said Gentle with a broad smile as a legion of pint-sized autograph-seekers gathered around her on the rain-dampened field.

"And I'm looking for more pitchers from Australia now," said Coolen. "We have a nice pipeline, they want to come here, they want to work, and they're very good ballplayers."

With that little moment in history out of the way, the coach turned his attention to today's doubleheader with the Spartans (13-40, 2-14 WAC), which begins at 2 p.m.

"I might use Kelly in both ends of the doubleheader," said Coolen, who is intent upon clinching Hawaii's (25-18, 11-8 WAC) berth in the six-team Western Athletic Conference tournament which begins May 13 in Fresno.

A sweep would do it.

"This is a big series for us," he said. "We need two more wins to clinch a berth because then the worst we could do would be 11 losses. (sixth-place) Colorado State (5-11) already has 11, and we'd win the tie-breaker with them. Everybody else has been talking about us going to the WAC but I don't want to count on it until I see it done."

Hawaii is currently in third place behind Fresno State and San Diego State.

Coolen's next concern is to make the NCAA tournament, something the Wahine have done three out of the last five seasons.

The tournament takes 48 teams and the Wahine were No. 29 in the last USA Today/NFCA poll.

"But our NCAA regional ranking is more important," said Coolen. "We were No. 2 the last time the poll came out, so that puts us way up because our schedule is so strong. And if we finish top three in the WAC tournament, that will be assuring for us."

Gentle struck out nine, two shy of her career high, and walked no one in raising her season mark to 14-8.

She also raised her school record marks in starts (to 111), complete games (to 134), and games pitched (135). Gentle owns both the Hawaii and WAC records for saves (seven).

Gentle said she wasn't entirely pleased with herself but glad to get the win for Coolen and visiting boyfriend, Brett Boyton, who flew in from Australia.

"I threw OK in the beginning and then I overthrew a bit in the fifth inning and they started to score their runs," said Gentle.

First baseman Joyce Lum drove in a pair of runs for the Wahine, while second baseman Mel McGie had a pair of doubles.


Rainbows 9, Spartans 2

San Jose St.	ab	r	h	bi	Hawaii	ab	r	h	bi
Whitcanack 2b	3	0	1	0	McGie 2b	2	2	2	0
Norga lf	3	1	1	0	Kaaihili ss	3	1	0	0
Garcia c	3	0	1	1	Tandarich dh	2	0	0	0
Lewis 3b	3	0	0	0	Oascua ph/dh	1	0	0	1
Tyler cf	3	0	0	0	Degen c	3	1	2	1
Kechriotis rf	2	1	0	0	Gonzales pr	0	1	0	0
Bentley dh	3	0	0	0	Rapanot 3b	1	3	1	1
Lilly 1b	3	0	1	1	Lum 1b	4	0	2	2
Baldridge ss	2	0	0	0	Drevno lf	2	0	0	0
Easley p	0	0	0	0	Bona ph-lf	2	0	0	0
Akin p		0	0	0	0	Gentle p	3	0	0	0
						Woodruff rf	3	1	0	0
						Anderson cf	0	0	0	0
Totals		25	2	4	2	Totals	26	9	7	5
San Jose State	000	011	0--2	4	4
Hawaii		202	401	x--9	7	1
E--Whitcanack 2, Lewis, Ca. Akin, Drevno. LOB_San Jose State 3, Hawaii 7.

2B--Garcia, Lillym McGie 2, Lum. 3B--Rapanot. SB--Norga, R.. Kaaihili. SH--McGie, Kaaihili. SF--Pascua.

Easley (L,3-14)	°	1	2	1	1	0
Akin		5	6	7	3	2	2
Gentle (W,14-8)	7	4	2	2	0	9
WP--Easley 2, Akin. Balk--Easley, Akin. HBP--by Easley (Rapanot), by Gentle (Kechriotis), by Akin (Rapanot).

Umpires--Javillo, Sakurai, Santiago.

T--2:01. A--633.

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