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HPU

New faces spark softball season opener

by Ano Puchalski, staff writer

 

The Lady Sea Warrior softball team begins its 2005 season with many fresh new faces. HPU is currently 5-1 in the PacWest, after defeating Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i in a doubleheader Feb. 21, with almost an entirely new lineup.

Despite losing four seniors to graduation and one junior to pregnancy last season, the forecast for this year’s team looks promising.

 

Fans and spectators got a first glimpse of HPU’s softball team in action as the Lady Sea Warriors faced-off against other local Division II teams at the University of Hawai‘i’s annual softball tournament Feb. 2. Although the Lady Sea Warriors lost three of their scrimmages to rivals Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i, University of Hawai‘i-Hilo, and Chaminade University, they remained optimistic for regular season play.

Co-Head Coaches Howard Okita and Bryan Nakasone, and Assistant Coach Michelle “Fuk’s” Fukumoto, have been with HPU’s softball program for more than a decade.

 

Nakasone, a recently retired deputy fire chief for O‘ahu’s Federal Fire Dept., will now be able to fully dedicate himself to coaching this year’s team in addition to spending more family time with grandson Dylan.

Nakasone is well known for his intense physical workouts, crafty strategies, and mental toughness in game situations.

Coach Okita’s job is to recruit the players who will work, practice, and study hard to get the job done. Okita is known for doing most of his recruiting here in Hawai‘i. “It’s much easier than reviewing tapes and getting feedback from some person on the mainland that I barely know,” said Okita. Okita reminds his players each year that while winning games is important, winning in the classroom is more important. Seeing his players graduate with a degree is his number-one priority, Okita said.

Under the direction of Okita, Nakasone, and Assistant Coach, Michelle Fukumoto, HPU’s softball teams have accumulated numerous achievements at both the athletic and academic levels.

The Sea Warriors captured their first season victories against Chaminade University Feb. 5 at Palolo Valley District Park, beating the Silverswords to win both games 6-2 and 5-2.

HPU went on to split two with the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo Feb. 20, losing early in game one to the Lady Vulcans 6-2, and upsetting UHH to capture game two, winning 4-3.

After a goodnights rest, the Lady Sea Warriors traveled to La‘ie to sweep BYUH on their home field 11-3 in game one, and 6-0 in game two.

In their game against the Seasiders, HPU brought out their big guns,newcomers Brandy Peiler and Nicole “Shu-shu” Kalakau, to hit two homers for the Sea Warriors, helping HPU score six runs in the fourth inning. Kalakau finished 2-4 at the plate in game one while Peiler went 1-5.

Other freshmen who proved they could hang with the big dogs were Lia Petrina, who went 2-4, and Kellie Nishikida, going 2-2 with an RBI.

Petrina helped end game one by picking off BYUH’s first base runner attempting to steal second,with a throw from the homeplate catcher, Anuhea Diamond.

“ You can tell they (the freshmen) really want to win,” said Diamond of her young teammates, “They practice hard. They deserve to be starting.”

It couldn’t have been a better lineup as Peiler, Petrina, and Nishikida teamed up in game two to score three straight runs in the first inning for the Lady Sea Warriors.

HPU took advantage of the Seasiders by scoring three runs off BYUH’s errors to win game two, 6-0.

Peiler was the driving force behind game two, giving up only five hits to the Seasiders and then holding them scoreless the rest of the game.

 

 

2004, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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