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HPU

Lady Sea Warrior Softball returns 14 players

by Chris Alcantara, associate Sports editor

 

With a hard-fought .500 record in 2002, the HPU Lady Sea Warriors softball team is back with a veteran roster sure to be a contender for a 2003 Pac West conference title.

Coach Howard Okita will not lack in experience this season as the team will have 13 returning players, nine of them starters including three pitchers, and three promising freshmen. HPU will look to its four seniors to play the

Kim Fukumoto
leadership roles in the dugout and on the field. Senior Tascha Berinobis, from Kane‘ohe, started all 42 games last season as a junior middle infielder and led the team in runs batted in (RBI’s) with 31.
 
Senior utility player Alisa Iloreta, out of Wailua, Kaua‘i, played in 22 games and was key off the bench for the Sea Warriors last season.
 

Senior Kristin Fujii, a Honolulu native, started all but one game in right field in 2002 for Coach Okita and led the team in triples (3) and walks earned (16). Rounding out the senior class is returning starter at first base Kim Fukumoto. Fukumoto, originally from Flagstaff, AZ, had a .282 batting average and was second on the team in RBI’s (24). “The seniors have been through the war, they know what its about,” said Okita. “I don’t want them to feel too much pressure to step up, but I will need them to lead by example.”

Tascha Berinobis
 
Other returning starters include junior shortstop Brandy Choy Foo of Waimanalo, who led the team in batting average with an impressive .356. Sophomore third baseman Tiari Keliinoi, from Mililani, started 36 games and was a solid defender at the corner as a freshman. Sophomore utility player Jamie Reyes of Palolo Valley, was second on the team in batting average (.348) and slugging percentage (.571) last season.
 

“Its nice to have returning starters, but they still need to improve everyday so that the other teams don’t catch up to them like they did last season,” said Okita.

HPU also welcomes back junior outfielder Rachel Lacar, from Pearl City, sophomore utility player Anuhea Diamond of Mililani, and sophomore outfielder Keanolani Puchalski, from Honolulu. Also returning after two years is junior infielder Holly Garcia, from Ewa Beach.

Alisa Iloreta
 
In the bullpen, HPU will enjoy the return of all three of last year’s ace starting pitchers. Junior Jessica Parra, a Phoenix, AZ native, led all HPU pitchers in wins last season with eight, as well as strikeouts with 45. Junior Malia Sullivan, of Sun Valley, CA, is also returning after picking up six wins and a save in 2002. Sophomore Mallory Anderson, out of Santa Ana, CA, started 15 games as a freshman and maintained an earned run average of 2.34.
 

“These are our starters and we will live and die by them,” said Okita. “They need to understand that they can’t just overpower hitters and instead start to hit their spots, but they’re getting better about it.”

Aside from the returnees, HPU has added a few new faces to the program. Freshmen Jennifer Baron a catcher from Issaquah, WA, Amber Juan a utility player from Honolulu, and Melani Rawlins an infielder from Kaunakakai, Molokai.

Kristin Fujii
 

“The freshmen just have to come right out and show us they want to play hard,” said Okita. “I always tell them to stay on it, because they could be only one out away from starting.”

HPU will be fielding a roster of 17, which is the largest in recent years according to Okita. However, it seems that such a large number will surely favor the team, as Okita has nothing but faith in the depth and abilities of his bench.

“With such a big roster it might be hard to get everybody in the games,” said Okita. “But as long as everyone keeps improving and everyone gets their chance to play, we’ll have a good season.”

 
 

 

©2003, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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