Hawaii Grown Report:
Ex-ILH softball stars shine at East Carolina
Three talented sophomores at East Carolina are making a difference on and off the softball field.
Kaui Tom (Kamehameha '06), Charina Summer (Kamehameha '06) and Cristen Aona (Punahou '06) have been mainstays in the Pirates lineup since their first game as freshmen. But their impact on the program runs much deeper.
"Since these three have arrived on campus, they have been great advocates for our softball program and university," coach Tracey Kee said in an e-mail. "Their impacts have been felt in the classroom, in the community and on the field. They are the true epitome of the term student-athlete."
East Carolina is a long way from home, but all three girls played on a travel team called the Pearls. They played in a tournament in Colorado prior to their season year in high school, where Kee first saw them play.
Immediately after their final game in the tournament, Kee made scholarship offers to all three.
"We had no doubt they could make immediate impacts in our program," Kee said. "However, selling them on the east coast experience was going to take some effort. East Carolina truly is a wonderful school with a college town atmosphere. I think once they made their official visits here and got to see it first hand and meet the squad, they too saw how special it was."
Last year, Tom and Summer were named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team while Aona started 54 games at third base.
The Pirates opened their season last weekend, going 4-2 in the Carolina Classic. Summer went 8-for-16 in the tournament while Aona blasted two home runs and had five extra-base hits.
» BYU senior Emi Snow Willing (Kamehameha '04) hit four doubles and drove in six runs in five games as the Cougars opened the season 5-0 in the Red Desert Classic.
» Santa Clara junior Noelani Hoopii (Kamehameha '05) homered and drove in two runs in a 8-6 loss to UC Santa Barbara. The Broncos have started the season 0-5, but Hoopii is tied for the team lead with a .273 average.
» Tennessee sophomore Anita Manuma (Campbell '06) went 4-for-12 with a homerun and three runs in the Cathedral City Kickoff as the Lady Vols won all five games. Tennessee is ranked fifth in both national polls.
» Cal State Bakersfield senior Pikake Nutter-Gaudet (Leilehua '04) went 4-for-15 with two runs and three RBIs in four starts as the Runners won three of four games against San Jose State.
Washington State senior Derrick Low (Iolani '04) had 10 points, three assists and two steals in 32 minutes to help the Cougars snap a three-game losing streak with a 74-50 victory over USC. He scored 21 against Oregon State last night.
» Colorado School of Mines junior Kyle Pape (Iolani '05) led the team with 20 points, eight rebounds and five steals in a 60-57 victory over Chadron State (Neb.) College. The Orediggers won their fourth in a row behind Pape, who is second in the conference in scoring.
Whitworth freshman Courtney Gaddis (Kalani '07) had the best individual performance with nine points and three rebounds but high school teammate Megan Kamehiro's (Kalani '07) team got the victory as Pacific (Ore.) edged the Pirates 68-66. Kamehiro grabbed a rebound in 3 minutes of action and Holly Saito (St. Andrew's '05) converted her only field goal-attempt for the Boxers. Johanna Sai (Kamehameha '07) played 12 minutes for Whitworth.
» Utah sophomore Hennasea Tokumura (Iolani '06) had two assists and a rebound in 6 minutes of a 71-52 win over Air Force. Tokumura has appeared in 19 games this season for the Utes who have won 15 games in a row and are 20-3 for the year.
Arizona junior Amanda Wilson (Waiakea '05) shot a final round 1-under 70 to finish in 17th place in the Northrop Grumman Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif. Wilson was the top finisher for the Wildcats who placed eighth in the team standings.
» Stanford junior Mari Chun (Kamehameha '05) also shot a final round 70 in the same tournament. Chun finished in a tie for 26th place while the Cardinal placed fifth overall.