Hawaii surrendered just one hit in last night’s softball duel with Longwood.
Turned out to be one hit too many.
Rainbow Wahine right hander Stephanie Ricketts threw 61/3 innings without giving up a hit before Longwood left fielder Nichole Simmons smacked a solo home run to center field to break the scoreless tie and send the Lancers to a 1-0 win.
Simmons’ shot backed up a three-hit effort by Longwood senior Briana Wells and the Lancers (13-3) opened their run in the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament by handing UH (16-5) its first home loss of the season.
"They held us in check and we’re just not swinging the bats well," said Hawaii coach Bob Coolen, whose team is ranked No. 14 and 17 in the latest polls. "We had a couple of chances and didn’t get it done and one swing of the bat … "
Longwood, based in Farm-
ville, Va., made the cross-country trek following Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep against Virginia, which beat Hawaii earlier this year. Coach Kathy Riley led the Lancers to 36-16 mark last season and credited the combination of Wells and catcher Brittany Matthews for setting the tone.
"I really just wanted to hit my spots really well and keep them off balance and really push the corners," Wells said.
Wells gave up three singles and thwarted UH’s limited scoring opportunities. Jessica Iwata’s fly ball to center in the fourth inning was caught just in front of the fence. In the fifth, Sarah Robinson singled and advanced to third before being stranded. In the sixth, Iwata singled and went to second on a wild pitch, but Wells got a strikeout and a ground out to send the game into the seventh scoreless.
Ricketts, meanwhile, allowed just three walks heading into the seventh and got the first out before Simmons worked the count full and hit her second home run of the season. Ricketts struck out nine but fell to 10-4.
"I was just thinking about getting a base hit," Simmons said. "We had the middle of the lineup up so I knew if I got on someone would bring me in. That’s what I was hoping for."
"I was thinking as the game was going on … this is a game where it’ll take one swing or someone will get a flare to fall in, because both pitchers were doing a great job," Riley said.
Wells then retired the Wahine in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
"It’s not the same confidence we had on the road; we were free swinging," Coolen said. "For some reason at home, we’re a little pensive right now.
"If our pitchers are going to keep us in games, we have to go out and score more than one run."
The tournament continues today with UH playing Miami (Ohio) at 3 p.m. and South Dakota State at 5.
Longwood 1, Hawaii 0
At Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
|Longwood (13-3)||000||000 1||–||1||1||0|
|Hawaii (16-5)||000||000 0||–||0||3||0|
Briana Wells and Brittany Matthews. Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla K, Diana Phalon (5) and Brooke Frey. Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. W-Wells (11-3). L-Ricketts (10-4).
Leading hitters–Long: Nichole Simmons HR. UH: Melissa Gonzalez 1-1, Sarah Robinson 1-2, Jessica Iwata 1-3.
Yesterday’s early games
Tokyo Women’s College of Physical Education 10, South Dakota State 7 (8)*
Miami (Ohio) 5, TWCPE 2*
Miami (Ohio) 4, South Dakota State 0