Majam making good on fresh opportunity


POSTED: Friday, March 05, 2010

Not that Kelly Majam was exactly apathetic toward softball before.

But the angst that accompanied her first extended absence from the game only amplified her appreciation for each at-bat.

“;Now I feel like it's a privilege and an honor to get to play,”; Majam said.

“;I was taking it for granted, just not appreciating how much fun it is. ... Even though it gets hard and I may not do as well as I want, it's better than not playing at all.”;

Back in her comfort zone, the Hawaii freshman has made the most of her plate appearances lately.

The Rainbow Wahine center fielder and leadoff hitter enters this weekend's Bank of Hawaii Invitational—with a field that includes No. 1 Washington—on an 11-game hitting streak, and leads the team in production (.489) and power (six home runs).

This after missing last season while rehabbing a torn ACL in her left knee. She had surgery in December 2008, benching her for the longest stretch she can remember since she started playing at age 5.

UH head coach Bob Coolen recalled trailing Majam on the high school tournament circuit when he heard that Majam and her family had been involved in an auto accident that day. The incident left the car wrecked and the family bruised but otherwise safe and Majam was back in the lineup the next day.






        » What: Bank of Hawaii Invitational

        » Where: Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium

        » Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM (Sunday games)


        Washington vs. East Carolina, 4 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Seattle, 6 p.m.


        East Carolina vs. Seattle, noon; Washington vs. Seattle, 2 p.m.; Hawaii vs. East Carolina, 4 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Washington, 6 p.m.


        No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed, 10 a.m.; No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 seed, noon; Third-place game, 2 p.m.; Championship game, 4 p.m.


“;She just has a passion for softball and a passion for everything she does,”; Coolen said.

Once she signed with UH out of Empire Valley (Calif.) High, Majam had been slated to provide punch at the top of the lineup before suffering the injury in the Kamaaina Classic, UH's annual fall tournament.

“;It was frustrating for her and it changed the whole nature of our team early in the season,”; Coolen said.

Still, the 2009 campaign wasn't unproductive for Majam, as she studied the game from the periphery, visualizing her mechanics at the plate and looking deeper into strategy.

She began getting her timing back in a summer league in California and had a second surgery on the meniscus in her knee in August.

Majam acclimated to Division I pitching hitting off UH starters Stephanie Ricketts and Kaia Parnaby in fall and spring practices. Still, it took her about four games to find her groove, going 1-for-11 to begin her Division I career.

Since then, the lefty is hitting .611 (22-for-36) entering tonight's game against Seattle (1-8) as the Wahine (9-6) return home after a 12-day road trip. She also leads the Wahine with nine walks, contributing to a .579 on-base percentage.

Majam was named the Western Athletic Conference's hitter of the week last month for hitting .750 at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.

“;My mind-set is to get on base,”; Majam said. “;If a home run comes, cool, but my job is to get on base to get it to the girls behind me.”;

Majam enters the weekend third in the WAC in hitting and tied with New Mexico State's Hoku Nohara, a Kamehameha graduate, for the home run lead. She leads a UH offense that tops the WAC with 33 home runs in 15 games, an average of 2.2 per game so far.

“;I've never been on a team where the whole lineup can hit a home run,”; Majam said. “;It's really cool. I see myself as needing to be aggressive and set the tone.”;

Huskies in town

Top-ranked Washington (12-1), the reigning Women's College World Series champion, returns national player of the year Danielle Lawrie. The senior is 9-0 with a 1.12 earned-run average with 102 strikeouts against five walks. She's also hitting .400 with eight homers. Sophomore Niki Williams was named the NFCA's national player of the week after hitting .588 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in the Cathedral City Classic. Junior infielder Jenn Salling is hitting .559.

East Carolina (6-7) features five Hawaii players in the starting lineup—catcher Kai Clark (Kapolei), second baseman Charina Sumner (Kamehameha), third baseman Cristen Aona (Punahou), shortstop Kaui Tom (Kamehameha) and left fielder Marina Gusman-Brown (Pearl City).