Saturday, September 2, 2000
Dana Degen's return to the University of Hawaii Softball Stadium comes a few months early -- thanks to the USA Olympic Team, and Degen's strong debut season with the Women's Professional Softball League.
Degen returns to Manoa
to play against USA team
By Dave Reardon
Degen, a two-time second-team All-American with the Wahine, is part of the WPSL all-star team playing the Olympians in a doubleheader here tomorrow.
It's the finale of the "Central Park to Sydney" nationwide tour that featured games between the USA team and WPSL teams.
"It will be awesome to play in front of the Hawaii fans again," Degen said. "I didn't think I'd be on that field again until the alumnae game."
Degen was coming back to Manoa, anyway. She is working toward completing work on a history degree.
She helped the Ohio Pride to a second-place finish in the four-team WPSL this summer. Degen batted .216 as a rookie, ninth in the pitching-rich league.
Degen, the UH career-leader in homers with 29, hopes she gets a chance to bat against Lisa Fernandez, the USA pitcher who dominates her sport the way Tiger Woods does his.
"What people don't realize is that she's a great hitter and third baseman, too," Degen said of Fernandez, who recently pitched five consecutive perfect games.
Degen said she is in awe of the USA team, which won the gold medal at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and currently has a 104-game winning streak.
USA has outscored its opponents, 396-4, while winning all 57 games of its 2000 Pre-Olympic Tour. The team hasn't lost since the 1998 ISF Women's World Championships.
"They're incredible," Degen said.
"There's nothing they don't have; pitching, hitting, defense. It will be fun to be able to play against them, or even to sit back and watch. It's a big treat for the Hawaii fans."
Other USA players include charismatic infielder Dr. Dot Richardson and former UH nemesis Laura Berg, an outfielder who starred at Fresno State.
"I hope that playing against the WPSL teams will help them bring home the gold medal," Degen said.
Tomorrow's games are at 2 and 4 p.m.
The USA softball team scrimmages the current University of Hawaii team at 5 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Olympians then play Hawaii Pacific University on Thursday at 2 p.m. at UH.