Wednesday, May 16, 2001
[ WAHINE SOFTBALL ]
Only one statUniversity of Hawaii softball coach Bob Coolen crunched the big numbers before leaving yesterday for the NCAA Tournament regional in Tucson, Ariz.
matters for Wahine
The numbers may favor
Hawaii's opponents, but
Coolen is undeterred
UH dominates All-WAC honors
By Dave Reardon
He admits, on paper, it looks like the Wahine could get crunched themselves.
UH's first opponent tomorrow (11:30 a.m. HST), Southwest Texas State, has pitcher Sarah Chase, who is 28-3 with a 0.55 ERA.
After the Wahine (46-16) play the 19th-ranked Bobcats (52-10) in the six-team, double-elimination tournament, there's other potential opponents to ponder:
>> Cal State Fullerton catcher Jenny Topping is hitting .423.
>> Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch is 27-0, Wildcat outfielder Lauren Bauer is hitting .442 with 12 homers and outfielder Nicole Giordano is batting .400 with 71 RBI.
Coolen respects the stats, but only to a point.
"Arizona is rewriting the book on power totals, and Texas Tech has a pitcher with over 30 wins (Amanda Renfro, 32-17)," Coolen said. "But numbers can be very misleading at times."
What third-seeded Hawaii (46-16) has going for it is balance and depth. Nine batters are hitting .280 or better, and eight have driven in between 16 and 25 runs.
Coolen said the difference-maker could be defense.
"At this point it's who has the adrenaline pumping and who plays errorless ball. Who catches it and throws it," said Coolen, taking Hawaii to its fifth regional in 10 seasons. "You can go into a tournament and boot balls and it affects the way you hit and pitch."
UH has won 12 consecutive games. The last loss was on April 20, when Portland State took advantage of two Hawaii errors to win, 2-1. In the big picture, that loss also cost UH the Western Athletic Conference title on percentage points; Fresno State (13-3) finished at .813, UH (16-4) at .800.
Coolen said the two errors in a game was an aberration, although the Wahine have made at least one error in their last seven games and seven in their last three.
"Defense has kept us in a lot of ballgames,'' said Coolen. "Overall, we've been pretty steady. The outfield has made some great catches to help pitchers out."
He considers right fielder Tyree Woodruff and first baseman Stacey Porter as his best defensive players.
"Tyree's made some great diving catches," Coolen said. "And Stacey is solid. Nothing gets by her and she's very much a presence, pretty much a rock at first, even though we didn't know where she was going to play when the season started."
The University of Hawaii softball team batted 1.000 when it came to the Western Athletic Conference's top player awards yesterday.
Wahine sophomore shortstop Kate Judd was named Player of the Year, senior Desiree Duran the Pitcher of the Year and first baseman Stacey Porter Freshman of the Year.
It was the second consecutive year a Wahine earned the Player of the Year. Last year's honor went to senior catcher Dana Degan.
Hawaii also made up 50 percent of the first team. Joining Judd, Duran and Porter were junior second baseman Natalie Gonzales and sophomore catcher Michelle Mumaw.
Named to the second team were Hawaii outfielders Tyree Woodruff, a senior, and junior Stacie Hirano.
The only major award Hawaii missed out on was Coach of the Year. That went to Fresno State's Margie Wright, whose Bulldogs won the WAC title by 13 percentage points over the Wahine.
During the WAC season, Judd led the conference in RBIs (16), home runs (8) and total bases (46). Duran was 9-0 in conference games with a 0.62 ERA. Porter led all freshmen with a .371 batting average, fourth-best in the league.
Ka Leo O Hawaii