Hawaii Grown Report:
S. Utah’s Eldridge builds with Hawaii ties
is using his connections in Hawaii to build a winner at Southern Utah. The fourth-year head coach has brought in seven players with Hawaii connections and features a lineup loaded at the top with them.
Junior Nick Freitas (Kamehameha '05), who transferred from Miami, broke out of a slump yesterday with two home runs while batting leadoff for the first time this season.
"We've tried to put Nick in the No. 3 and No. 5 spot to use his power, but we moved him to lead-off to get some line drives and to get his speed on the bases," Eldridge said after yesterday's game. "It's ironic today that he hits two home runs, but he made some adjustments in practice this week and it really paid off."
Eldridge's first coaching stint was at Hawaii Pacific, where he was a five-time District 29 coach of the year honoree from 1989 to1995.
Chester Wilson (Saint Louis '05) has started 18 games and is batting .281. High school teammate Kelii Zablan is third on the team with a .321 average in 16 games played and Bucky Aona (Punahou '06) is hitting .302 as the starting designated hitter.
The Thunderbirds roster also includes Alec Reichle (Kauai '04), Mitchell Kauweloa (Kamehameha '07) and Justin Neuhart (Molokai '07).
» Brown senior JJ Eno (Baldwin '04) went 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs and three RBIs in a 16-7 victory over Richmond. Eno is 5-for-15 in his last five games while splitting time at designated hitter, first base and right field.
» Sacramento State senior catcher Brett Tanigawa (Moanalua '03) went 2-for-3 and Taylor Watanabe (Aiea '03) drew a pinch-hit walk in a 5-3 victory over No. 17 Stanford. The Hornets host Hawaii for a four-game series beginning today.
» Willamette sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nakata (Mililani '06) went eight innings and allowed four hits and three runs, but took the loss in a 6-2 defeat against Pacific Lutheran.
» Central Arizona College sophomore CJ Johnson (Iolani '06) is fifth in the conference in hitting with 48 hits and a .421 batting average. Johnson went 9-for-15 with a home run, four doubles and five RBIs last week in doubleheaders against the top two teams in the conference.
» New Mexico State freshman Hoku Nohara
(Kamehameha '07) had two hits as the Aggies dropped two of three games against Hawaii this week. Nohara has six home runs, five doubles and 19 RBIs and has started 38 games this year.
» California first baseman Sanoe Kekahuna (Baldwin '07) is 3-for-5 in her last two games for the Golden Bears. Kekahuna had two hits in a 10-4 win over UC Riverside and followed it with a 1-for-2 performance in a five-inning shutout of Pacific. Kekahuna was a disappointing 2-for-14 in five games during the Bank of Hawaii Invitational on Mar. 19-22.
» Idaho senior Kelly Nakashima
(Baldwin '04) was named the WAC golfer of the week for March 10-16 after finishing eighth in the UNLV Spring Invitational in Boulder City, Nev. Nakashima shot rounds of 68, 70 and 76 to finish the tournament 2-under.
» Willamette junior Whitney Ueno (Hilo '05) won the Willamette Invitational by three strokes in Woodburn, Ore. Pacific junior Lauren Yoshimura (Pearl City '05) finished 30 strokes behind Ueno in a tie for 10th place.
» New Mexico sophomore Britney Choy (Leilehua '06) had the best finish of her career with a third-place showing in the fifth annual Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Tex. Choy shot a final-round 79 to finish the tournament at 17 over.
» Nevada senior Jennie Pleas (Kauai '04) finished tied for 21st in the Gainesville Shootout. Pleas opened with an 81 but closed with rounds of 76 and 75 to finish the tournament 21 over.
» Gonzaga senior Reyn Tanaka
(Mid-Pacific '04) shot an opening-round 77 followed by back-to-back rounds of 76 to finish tied for 21st in the Kauai Collegiate Cup on the Makai Golf Course. The Bulldogs finished third in the team standings.
» Cal State Northridge senior outside hitter Isaac Kneubuhl
(Kamehameha '03) had 28 kills and 13 digs in two victories over Hawaii this week.