In between studying for midterms, Hawaii catcher Sharla Kliebenstein continues to pass her on-field tests.
Kliebenstein helped Rainbow Wahine pitcher Stephanie Ricketts through a tight matchup with Cleveland State and provided the decisive hit in UH’s 2-1 win in the Chevron Spring Fling Tournament last night at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
Ricketts gave up an unearned run in the top of the first, then held the Vikings to two singles the rest of the way to improve to 13-4. Kelly Majam’s line-drive home run into the wind on a blustery night tied the game in the second inning and Kliebenstein brought in the go-ahead run with a double in the fifth.
The No. 16/20 Wahine won their 11th game in their last 12 and improved to 22-5 heading into today’s doubleheader. UH faces BYU at 5 p.m. and Iona at 7.
Kliebenstein has been spending extra time in the training room to manage the physical wear of catching during UH’s busy pre-spring break schedule and will have a midterm on her mind prior to arriving at the stadium today.
Last night, she used a couple of timely tips from UH head coach Bob Coolen to help the Wahine come through in pressure situations.
With the game tied in the fifth inning, the Vikings paired singles to put runners on first and third with one out. Coolen went out to visit with Ricketts and Kliebenstein to get them to use more of Ricketts’ repertoire.
"Coach Bob reminded me I have to mix it up and keep them off balance. I started calling more of the rise balls and drop balls," Kliebenstein said.
After Ricketts struck out the next two hitters to preserve the tie, Kliebenstein came up to bat in the bottom of the inning with runners on first and second. She drilled a line drive into the left-center gap to score Dara Pagaduan from second with the go-ahead run, raising her team-leading RBI total to 25.
"I was kind of fidgeting around in the (batter’s) box my first couple (at-bats) and wasn’t really seeing the ball," Kliebenstein said. "Coach Bob just kept reminding me to get my hands out. That pitch was outside, but I just took my hands to the ball and the wind was going to the left so it took it that way."
Ricketts then retired the Vikings in order in the last two innings to seal the win. She finished with eight strikeouts against one walk.
Cleveland State, which lost to BYU 8-0 just prior to facing UH, took the lead in the first on Dara Toman’s RBI double into the right-field corner. But Majam answered for the Wahine with her fifth homer of the season and 35th of her career, moving her into a tie for third on UH’s all-time home run list.
The UH band attended last night’s game, an appearance arranged by Na Wahine Softball Booster Club. Coolen said the band previously played at one softball game "six or seven years ago."
|Cleveland St. (9-7)||100||000||0||—||1||3||2|
Tess Sito and Amy Powell. Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. W–Ricketts (13-4). L–Sito (7-5).
Leading hitters–CS: Dara Toman 1-2, RBI; Jessica Burt, 1-3, run. UH: Kelly Majam, 1-3, HR; Kleibenstein, 1-3, RBI; Dara Paguduan, run.
Yesterday’s other results
BYU 8, Iona 0
California 10, Iona 1 (5 innings)
BYU 8, Cleveland State 0