Busy weekend on deck for UH softball

by Jason Kaneshiro on November 4, 2016

Rainbow Wahine junior Brittany Hitchcock went 13-15 with a 2.18 earned-run average last season. She struck out 103 and walked just 15 in 177 innings. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Rainbow Wahine junior Brittany Hitchcock went 13-15 with a 2.18 earned-run average last season. She struck out 103 and walked just 15 in 177 innings. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Right from the start, the Rainbow Wahine softball team’s lineup will have a new look to open its fall exhibition schedule.

UH coach Bob Coolen plans to turn in a lineup card with five newcomers in the batting order when the Wahine open the two-day Kama’aina Tournament Friday with a doubleheader against Chaminade and BYU-Hawaii starting at 5 p.m.

The ’Bows face the Silverswords and Seasiders again in a Saturday tripleheader that ends with the UH alumnae game.

The Wahine will have a familiar look in the circle with junior Brittany Hitchcock and senior Kanani Aina Cabrales retaining the starter roles they’ve held for the last two seasons.

The lineup around them will take a little more getting used to.

“We have established a lineup that we’re going to go with,” Coolen said. “We’re young, the most experience we have is on the mound with Britt, Kanani and Heather (Morales).”

Danielle Garcielita, a 5-foot-1 transfer from North Carolina, is slated to hit in the leadoff spot and start in center field. She’s followed by sophomores Sarah Muzik and Nicole Lopez, both mainstays in the lineup as freshmen last season.

“I’m hoping that what (Garcielita’s) doing in practice translates to the game and that’s setting the table for everyone,” Coolen said.

Muzik was in that role last season when she hit .284 in the leadoff spot. She moves to second base after spending most of her freshman year in the outfield. With right fielder Jordian Hicks, a junior-college transfer, in the ninth spot, Coolen noted the Wahine could have three slap hitters in a row when the lineup turns over.

Lopez was UH’s leading hitter as a freshman at .287 with 23 RBIs and five home runs. Morales, one of UH’s three seniors, returns in the clean up spot with three freshmen — Angelique Ramos, Laura Jaquez and Callee Heen — behind her. Senior left fielder Ulu Matagiese is slated for the eighth spot with Hicks, who hit .373 with 32 stolen bases last season at Santiago Canyon College hitting ninth.

Coolen said Heen has the strongest throwing arm behind the plate and will share catching duties with sophomore Heather Cameron, who started 29 games last season.

With five games in two days, the entire 24-player roster figures to see playing time in the exhibitions.

“Everyone’s going to get a shot to play,” Coolen said. “We’ll use our pitchers as to the nature of the ballgame. I really want to put them in situations where they can show us something and they can succeed.”

Coolen said Dana Thomsen, a junior transfer, has been throwing well in fall practice, but won’t pitch this weekend and will become eligible in the spring.

The Wahine close the weekend by taking on some of the program’s most recognizable names in the alumnae game. Keiki Carlos and Dori Ann Sugai, part of last season’s senior class, are expected to return for their first appearances with the alumnae with former All-Americans Jessica Iwata, Kelly (Majam) Elms, Kate Robinson and Tyleen Tausaga also in the first base dugout.

The Wahine close fall practice on Maui next week with an exhibition with UH Hilo set for Nov. 12.

Kama’aina Tournament schedule
Friday—Chaminade vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m. BYU-Hawaii vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.
Saturday—Chaminade vs. Hawaii, 1 p.m., BYU-Hawaii vs. Hawaii, 3 p.m., Alumnae vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m.

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