Wahine open vs. UC Davis in softball regional
By Fred Guzman
The slugging Rainbow Wahine, who have hit a national record 141 homers this season, are the 16th overall seed and will open against UC Davis on Friday in the NCAA Tournament’s Stanford Regional.
Also in the double-elimination regional are host Stanford and Texas Tech. Alabama is the No. 1 overall seed in the 64-team field.
Hawaii would appear to be a huge favorite against UC Davis, which is making its first tournament appearance and finished the regular season with a modest 26-27 record to earn an automatic NCAA berth by winning the Big West Conference title. UH, meantime, is 44-13 overall and ranked No. 21 in one national poll after winning the WAC regular season and tournament titles.
Hawaii beat UC Davis 8-5 earlier this season. The Rainbow Wahine also split a pair of games with Stanford, losing 2-0 and winning 11-5 in a season-opening tournament in Manoa. Stanford, which competes in the powerful Pac-10, is 36-16. Texas Tech of the Big 12 is 37-17.
Hawaii has overpowered opponents. Leading the way are a pair of freshman. Centerfielder Kelly Majam has a national-best 28 homers while batting .409. Shortstop Jessica Iwata is batting .404 with 17 homers. Melissa Gonzalez has gone deep 23 times with a .399 average. Four more reached double digits in homers: Amanda Taulii with 16. Jenna Rodriguez 14, Alexandra Aguirre 11 and Katie Grimes 10.
UH HOOPS: No one really knows for sure whether the University of Hawaii basketball team will be better next season, although – following a 10-20 campaign that cost coach Bob Nash his job – that shouldn’t be too much of an accomplishment. But we do know that the makeup of the team under new coach Gib Arnold will be dramatically different.
The extreme makeover of the Rainbows under Arnold continued when highly touted junior college point guard Anthony Salter signed a national letter of intent following a weekend visit to Honolulu.
The 5-11 Salter starred at Iowa Western Community College last season, leading the team in scoring, assists, steals and free throw percentage. He originally signed to play at Auburn in November. Salter requested — and was granted — a release after coach Jeff Lebo was fired in March.
Salter played prep ball in Florida. He was pursued by Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Charlotte before agreeing to become the eighth new recruit to sign with Hawaii for next season.
The other newcomers are guard Bo Barnes, forward Dominick Brumfield, guard Jordan Coleman, forward/center Vander Joaquim, point guard Bobby Miles, forward Josten Thomas, and forward Trevor Wiseman.