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Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, December 6, 2000

H A W A I I _P R E P _ S P O R T S

Sing Chows to set
tone for Warriors

Kamehameha softball,
with a new coach and pitcher,
is expected to win it all

By Glen Higa
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Just like her fastball, Kamehameha's Leo Sing Chow is set to explode on the high school softball scene this season.

The junior pitcher is expected to lead the Warriors to a state title.

"She is our go-to player and one of the top four pitchers in the state," said first-year Warriors' coach Ty Sing Chow.

He should know. He is Leo's uncle and her coach since she began playing softball at age 8.

Leo (pronounced Lei-oh) is also an accomplished hitter, and will play left field or designated hitter when not on the mound. But it is her pitching that will lead the Warriors, who open their season today against University High.

"She throws a heavy fastball and hits her spots," Ty Sing Chow said. "And her change-up just ties up hitters.

"She is a very polished pitcher having taken her lumps early (in youth leagues)," said the coach. "She has a good chance to be a Division I college pitcher."

Although the Warriors are a young team with only four seniors, they are loaded with talent.

"I would have to say Kamehameha is the favorite. They beat everyone in the preseason and they're not even playing up to their potential yet," Mililani coach Mike Okimoto said.

Chris Shimabukuro, coach of defending state champion Iolani, concurs.

"They are the most talented team in the state with one of the best pitchers (Sing Chow) in the state. No weaknesses," Shimabukuro said.

Kamehameha defeated Iolani in the preseason this year, 9-1.

Mililani lost to Iolani last year in the state championship game, 1-0, on a perfect game by Mitzi Ing (now at Fresno State). Coach Sing Chow considers the Trojans a strong contender to win it all this year.

"They have all of their starters back," Sing Chow said.

Mililani coach Okimoto said injuries have depleted his roster.

"We are just looking to scrape by and will consider ourselves very fortunate to reach the OIA championship game," Okimoto said.

Mililani is trying to survive an injury to ace pitcher Johnna Rowland (who is also a niece of Sing Chow). Rowland, who pitched in the state tournament championship game last season, sprained an ankle in the preseason.

Two-time defending champion Iolani enters this season with 10 new players and a young and inexperienced team. The Raiders will miss Ing's dominance, but state Position Player of the Year Ianeta Lei will try to pick up the slack.

"Our strength is we are working really hard and have the best attitudes. The returnees are also showing leadership," Shima-bukuro said.

But all eyes are on the Warriors -- especially their first-year coach and his hard-throwing niece.

"She's a great kid, like a coach's player. Anybody would love to have her on their team," Coach Sing Chow said. "I'm excited!"

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