Eldredge will be playing
in College World Series

The competitive careers of two of Hawaii's most prominent homegrown amateur athletes took different turns yesterday.

Yesterday, Kapolei's Clarissa Chun fell short in her bid to be part of the first Olympic Games women's wrestling competition. Chun, a 1999 Roosevelt High graduate, lost to USA Wrestling teammate Patricia Miranda in the best-of-three match finals of the Olympic Trials at Indianapolis.

Wailuku's Kaleo Eldredge, however, will be playing center field for California in softball's College World Series for the third year in a row. Eldredge, a 2001 Baldwin High graduate, was named to the regional all-tournament team after helping Cal defeat host Nebraska 2-0 to earn a ticket to the College World Series starting Thursday in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Chun had earned the right to wrestle U.S. National champion Miranda for the 48.5 kg (105.5 pounds) berth on the U.S. Olympic team by winning a challenge tournament on Saturday. Miranda broke a 2-2 tie in the second period to win the first match 6-3.

Miranda dominated the second match, scoring six takedowns before the match was stopped after 4 minutes, 51 seconds with Miranda leading 10-0. It was scored as a technical fall.

Chun and Miranda have both been residents of the Olympic Training Center since it opened in July 2002. Chun, 22, has never beaten the 25-year-old Stanford alum.

Before yesterday's matches, Chun said Miranda is "a very physical wrestler, probably one of the strongest in the weight class.

"She cuts a lot of weight (to make 105)," Chun said. "I've got to use what I have against her. She's an icon. She's got a great story. I'm happy for her."

As for losing, Chun said, "Every time I wrestle it's a learning experience."

Meanwhile, Eldredge was pleased, but a little surprised at being chosen to the all-tournament team.

"I got some hits (three) and squeezed in a run Saturday, but my defensive plays were all routine," Eldredge said of the 2-0 semifinal win over Nebraska.

Eldredge is batting .350 (55-for-157) in 57 games this season, second best for the Golden Bears, and leads the team in on-base average (.463). She gives Cal a combination of power (slugging average .541) and speed (stealing 16 bases in 17 tries).

Eldredge bats clean-up, but is as likely to bunt -- as she did Saturday in squeezing home the first run in a 2-0 game -- as swing for the fences.

She scored the winning run in the championship game of the 2002 College World Series. Cal made the final again last year with Eldredge starting and batting .309, but lost the final game to UCLA 1-0 in nine innings.

Cal (50-11) will open the College World Series Thursday against Florida State at 3:30 p.m. (HST). All CWS games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.

Suzuki drives in six: Wailuku's Kurt Suzuki was picked as a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award on Friday and the 2001 Baldwin High graduate set out immediately to prove he deserved the honor.

Yesterday, Suzuki ripped two home runs and drove in a career-high six runs as 22nd-ranked Cal State Fullerton put an exclamation point on its Big West Conference championship with a 13-11 victory and series sweep of No. 8 Long Beach State.

Suzuki went 4-for-5, including a two-run home run in the sixth, a three-run homer in the seventh, a double, four runs scored and six RBI. He finished the regular season with a .438 batting average, 13 home runs and 74 RBI.

Ryan Ermeling, Cal State Fullerton sports information assistant, said Suzuki has a chance to win the Big West Conference triple crown if he can hit three more homers in postseason play.

Yesterday's barrage lifted Suzuki's career batting average to .400 (158-for-395), 4 percentage points off the Fullerton record held by Mark Kotay, now of the Oakland As.


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