Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, February 11, 1999

D I V I S I O N _ I I _ S O F T B A L L

Hawaii teams blessed
with plenty of pitching

By Jerry Campany
Special to the Star-Bulletin


Pitching is everything in collegiate softball, and Hawaii's division II schools have it.

Hawaii Pacific, Brigham Young-Hawaii, Chaminade and UH-Hilo will clash in the Koolau Classic tournament beginning today and wrapping up on Monday.

The tournament is a joint operation between HPU and BYUH and will take place on both campuses. California State-Hayward and Sierra College come in to round out the competition.

After winning the HIAC and advancing to the regional championship game before losing, Hawaii Pacific is the favorite to win the new Pacific West Conference because the Sea Warriors have the best pitcher returning from last season.

Hawaii Pacific has 12 players returning from that squad, including starting pitcher Susie Schoales, who won 21 games last season and had a 0.99 ERA. She struck out 97 and walked only 18.

Hawaii Pacific head coach Howard Okita expects Schoales to perform even better this season, if it is possible.

"Susie went back home over the winter and worked out with her old pitching coach," Okita said. "Her speed is the same but she has added a lot more movement. She is going to have a real good season."

Chaminade suffered through a year of disasters and is ready for a new start. Freshman Melissa Marquez will be a big part of that.

Marquez is the ace of the pitching staff and will be called on as often as her young arm can handle it. She beat the University of Hawaii last week, got lit up in a doubleheader against BYUH Saturday, and recovered to throw 16 innings against Hawaii Pacific on Sunday.

"She matches up with anyone," Chaminade head coach Allison Nihei said. "She has had a little trouble adjusting to the college game but she is learning more every day. She is going to be a good one."

The Seasiders will rely on the right arm of Kimberly Burton, a transfer from Ricks College in Idaho, where she was the No. 2 pitcher on the second-ranked team in the nation last season.

Hawaii-Hilo features a two-headed monster on the mound, Michelle Canchola and Lori Vasquez. The two pitched nearly every inning for the Vulcans last season and combined for a 1.55 ERA.

Although his team is favored, Okita takes nothing for granted in the new Pac West. "Everyone is improved and has two solid starting pitchers," he said. "Games are important now, for more than just bragging rights. Nothing will come easy for any of us now."

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