Friday, March 19, 2004


Rainbow Wahine
pick up Tabion

The ace serves up a pair of dingers
but Hawaii pounds Utah’s pitcher
even worse

A year ago, she would have crumbled.

Yesterday Hawaii pitcher Shannon Tabion didn't flinch after giving up two home runs early and the Rainbow Wahine used a 12-hit performance to pummel Utah 9-3 in the Hawaii Invitational Tournament.

Hawaii's opening game was played before a crowd of about 150 at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. The Wahine (16-14) play a doubleheader today -- facing Tokyo W.C.P.E. at 5 p.m. and Northwestern at 7 p.m.

Tabion's first two innings were shaky, but she settled down and allowed just two more hits after the two homers. The junior equaled her career high in strikeouts with eight.

"Next time, I can't give up. I can't come out flat. I need to come out with the attitude I came out with from the third through the seventh innings," said Tabion, who got the start after Melissa Coogan strained both her calves working out on Wednesday. "I need to be more aggressive with the batters. I just came out flat.

"I love it when the team scores in the first inning. We had 12 hits. We did really well."

Seven of Hawaii's 10 batters had at least a hit, with junior Stacey Ritter going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Freshman Tyleen Tausaga was also productive, with three hits and four RBIs.

"We didn't do anything special," said the first baseman from Kaimuki High School. "Everybody did what they were supposed to do. We just came out and started ripping it.

"Some days I can see the ball so well and tonight was one of the nights I saw it well and I just hit it."

Hawaii scored first off three Utah (7-17) errors. With two outs, catcher Denise Dahlberg reached first after an error by first baseman Ivette Hernandez. With the sun in her eyes, Hernandez ducked away from Melissa Stahnke's throw from third.

Tausaga stroked a single up the middle to score Dahlberg and crossed the plate on another Utah error.

But the Utes got on the board too in the bottom of the first. With two out, Utah shortstop Glennis Donnelly ripped a 2-2 pitch over the center-field wall into the rubble where the Hawaii tennis courts used to be. Donnelly celebrated under a tunnel of arms made by her teammates as she crossed the plate.

The Utes cleared the dugout again as Devina Quintero homered in the bottom of the second to even the score at 2-2. Ritter broke the tie with a three-run shot over the left-field wall.

"It's always great when we're winning the whole game," said Tausaga, whose double to the gap in the fourth inning scored two. "It was so great our team stuck together after the home runs. We played together and came back with 10 more hits.

"We never had doubts because you can't have doubts. Once you start doubting anyone on your team, you lose out. Once they got those home runs we just told her, 'Hey, we got you right here. Just come back right here and we'll get it for you.' "

Tabion did just that, retiring the order in the bottom of the third. Hawaii added four runs in the fourth and Tabion fanned five of the next nine batters to snuff out any hint of a Utah threat.

The Utes didn't go totally quietly. Utah scored one run in the bottom of the seventh off of Quintero's one-out single to center. But Tabion struck out Kate Nygaard and pitcher Melissa Oaks grounded out to end the game.

Quintero led Utah with two hits and two RBIs.

The Rainbow Wahine hope to duplicate their hitting performance multiple times this weekend.

"We always come out on fire the first game with hits like that," Tabion said. "Sometimes we flatten out, but hopefully we keep it going with this tournament. We need to keep it rolling. We just need to keep scoring."

Notes: Coolen changed the pitching rotation yesterday morning. Coogan is expected back in action tomorrow.


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