Star-Bulletin Sports


HPU freshman pitcher Mallory Anderson in action.

Mallory Anderson
is pitching in

The freshman pitcher has a 7-4
record and a 2.26 ERA for HPU

By Brandon Lee

First came Susie Schoales, then Jennifer Woodard. Generation After Next is with the Hawaii Pacific softball team now, in the form of freshman pitcher Mallory Anderson.

Anderson is the third hurler to come to the Sea Warriors from private pitching coach Don Sarno's stable, based in Brea, Calif. And like Schoales and Woodard before her, Anderson has made an immediate impact on the mound for HPU.

Less than a year removed from Rosary High School in Santa Ana, Calif., Anderson boasts a 7-4 record with a 2.26 ERA and three shutouts. The left-hander leads the Sea Warriors in the latter two categories, while her win total is one short of the team high. Her ERA ranks seventh among all Pacific West Conference starters.

"I didn't know how much pitching time I would get coming in (to my first year)," said the 18-year-old Anderson, who was inserted into the starting rotation two weeks into the season. "But I knew when I got the chance I would try to do my best.

"I was nervous at first, but once I got out there, I just threw my game and the team supported me a lot. Now I feel really comfortable."

HPU freshman pitcher Mallory Anderson is among the conference leaders in ERA.

HPU coach Howard Okita and Sarno first met a decade ago, and the two have become friends since. While Sarno didn't initially put Okita in touch with Schoales, the Sea Warriors' skipper was pleased when he learned she was Sarno's pupil.

Schoales (1997-2000) rewrote the HPU record book, as did Woodard (1999-2000), whom Sarno recommended to Okita. Among Schoales' records are school career marks for starts (104), complete games (93), wins (77) and ERA (0.97). Woodard only played two years for the Sea Warriors, but established school single-season bests with 23 wins and a 0.54 ERA in 1999, and then 200 1/3 innings pitched in 2000.

Okita said he now calls Sarno whenever he needs an arm to replenish his roster. He did before this season.

Enter Anderson. The southpaw had never heard of HPU until Sarno suggested the school. Undecided about where to pursue a collegiate career at the time, Anderson went with the Sea Warriors after Okita traveled to a couple of her high school games and she made a summer visit to the school.

"When I saw her pitch, she really reminded me of Susie," Okita said. "Her also being left-handed, her motion -- she pitches the same way. (And Sarno's students are) all well-seasoned. He teaches them not only how to pitch, but the mindset necessary to be successful."

"Mallory is very poised on the mound, especially for a freshman," Okita added. "She is in control out there."

In control physically, and in control mentally. Sarno laid the foundation and now Okita is polishing the product.

"(Anderson) is a competitor," Sarno said. "She works hard, she's team-oriented and goal-oriented. She and Susie are a lot alike."

Anderson doesn't have overpowering stuff. But she is a cool customer who locates her pitches, has a lot of movement on her ball and lets her defense work for her.

Anderson is the only Sea Warrior to have earned PacWest Player of the Week honors so far this season, which she did at the end of last month. Still, despite her success, HPU is not enjoying a typically successful season.

The Sea Warriors (20-14 overall, 4-6 PacWest) are all but assured of missing postseason play for the first time in Okita's nine years at the helm, after returning earlier this week from a 2-7 road trip. HPU has eight games remaining, including two tomorrow at Chaminade (21-22, 8-8) and then two Sunday with Hawaii-Hilo (29-15, 11-3).

Like the rest of her teammates, Anderson got rocked on the road trip, losing three decisions. But she said the experience against mainland teams showed her what she and the rest of the Sea Warriors need to work on to play at the top level.

"I think (the road trip) could help our team for the last few games," Anderson said. "We're hungry to win. I think a lot of us were disappointed in how the road trip ended."

As Schoales and Woodard did before her, Anderson hopes to also play a major part in the continued development of the HPU program over her career. She is glad Okita and Sarno's relationship landed her in Hawaii, and she plans to leave her mark as well.

"I know I have a lot of things to work on, and I can get much better than where I am at now," Anderson said. "Pitching is different at the college level because every player is good. You have to pitch well every game to be successful.

"My team, I really like everybody ... and I want to win for them. I know I've thought about it a lot, and I want to play a big role on this team in the future."

HPU Sports

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