Hawaii Grown: College Athletics
BYU's Le'i will make switch to coaching
Ianeta Le'i heeded the words about a sense of urgency from Brigham Young women's softball coach Gordan Eakin and turned the advice into a banner year for the Cougars.
It wasn't that Le'i hadn't delivered during her first three seasons. Her batting average was consistent -- .346, .348 and .346. She was an All-Mountain West Conference selection each year and the MWC Player of the Year as a sophomore.
But this year, Le'i (Iolani '02) is hitting a team-leading .424 and tops the Cougars in at-bats (177), hits (75), home runs (18), RBIs (75), total bases (143) and slugging percentage (.808).
The senior first baseman earned her second MWC Player of the Year honor in helping the 42-20 Cougars gain a berth in the NCAA tournament.
"The sense of urgency was directed at the whole team. Coach Eakin talked about our potential and not waiting until the last minute before stepping it up," Le'i said.
"I think I just got mentally tougher and I have three years of experience behind me. He wanted the seniors to realize we shouldn't leave anything on the field."
Le'i hasn't done that and one of the rewards for her and her teammates is they host the first round of the tournament after finishing third in the MWC tourney.
"I was happy enough that we made it to postseason, but having it in Reno makes it even better," Le'i said.
"In my senior year at Iolani I didn't put in the effort I could have.
"After this year, it (softball) is going to be over. I've adopted the philosophy that every game could be my last and it has worked pretty well for me."
Le'i will serve as an assistant next year while finishing her degree in sociology, then is thinking about graduate school, where she would study communications.
Asked to think of a highlight or something she would remember 10 years down the road about her college playing days, Le'i said, "The first thing I would remember are my teammates. They are extraordinary people, as are the coaches."
The Cougars also received significant production from Ashlyn Russell (Baldwin '02), a senior third baseman and designated player and Emi Snow (Kamehameha '04), a sophomore who alternates between catcher and center field.
Russell is hitting .328 with four doubles, four homers and 32 RBIs. Snow is hitting .327, also with four doubles and 32 RBIs, but with six homers.
Seminara, Blomberg get baseball honors
Kyle Seminara and Andrew Blomberg of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps have been named to the All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball first team.
Seminara (Punahou '02), a senior outfielder, hit .344 with a team-leading 43 runs scored.
Blomberg (Moanalua '05), a freshman infielder/outfielder compiled a .394 batting average. He tied for the team lead with 34 RBIs and was second with 12 doubles. He and Seminara each had 52 hits to lead the Stags.