Ideally, the Hawaii softball team could use the next few days to wash away the frustration and start fresh with the arrival of the conference season.
But in the moments following a fourth straight angst-ridden loss, simply forgetting about the disappointing end to the nonconference schedule isn’t likely.
“This is going to be a sour taste until you get another win,” UH head coach Bob Coolen said. “Unless we have a good week of practice where we forget about it, this is going to linger with us until we get a win.”
The Rainbow Wahine (22-9) closed the Chevron Spring Fling Tournament with a 2-1 loss to BYU in a semifinal game yesterday. UH’s four losses to end the weekend mark its longest skid since dropping seven straight early in the 2009 season.
Runs were again tough to come by for the Wahine, the designated visiting team. UH freshman Sharla Kliebenstein gave UH the lead in the fourth inning with her ninth home run of the season. But the Wahine couldn’t add to the advantage, leaving seven runners on base.
» Pitcher — Jolene Henderson, Cal
» Infielders — Dara Toman, Cleveland State; JC Clayton, BYU; Kristi Delahoussaye, BYU; Jace Williams, Cal; Sharla Kliebenstein, Hawaii
» Outfielders — Frani Echavarria, Cal; Kelly Majam, Hawaii; Carly Duckworth, BYU
» At Large — Tess Sito, Cleveland State
» Most Outstanding Pitcher — Paige Affleck, BYU
» Most Outstanding Player — Jessica Fitu, BYU
That created an opportunity for the Cougars, who were shut down by UH pitcher Stephanie Ricketts until the bottom of the sixth. Jessica Dugas led off with an infield single, advanced on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on Jessica Fitu’s line single to right. After a sacrifice advanced Fitu, Carly Duckworth doubled to left field to give the Cougars their first lead of the game.
BYU senior Paige Affleck, who shut out UH on Thursday, gave up a leadoff single in the top of the seventh, but retired the next three hitters to eliminate UH from the tournament.
“We did so many things to not lose the game,” Coolen said. “If you’re playing not to lose, you’re going to lose.
“(BYU) stayed with it and persevered. … They’re an aggressive team and put pressure on you and put runners in scoring position. That’s what they did and then they get the timely hit.”
Affleck struck out six and walked three and earned her third win of the tournament.
Ricketts gave up five hits and struck out 10, yet suffered her third straight loss.
The Wahine offense managed four runs in five tournament games, leaving them to head into the week searching for answers before beginning defense of their Western Athletic Conference title. UH opens league play Friday against Utah State at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
“Everyone’s frustrated,” Ricketts said. “There’s no one answer for every single player; every player is different. … I believe in them and I need to pitch better.”
In the tournament championship game, Fitu drove in three runs and the Cougars upset No. 9/10 California 7-2. Fitu, the tournament’s most valuable player, gave BYU the lead with a two-run double in the third and contributed an RBI triple in a four-run sixth. Affleck tossed her second complete game of the afternoon and was named the most outstanding pitcher.
Kliebenstein and outfielder Kelly Majam represented UH on the all-tournament team.
|Hawaii (22-9)||000||100||0 — 1||4||1|
|BYU (14-4)||000||002||x — 2||5||1|
Stephanie Ricketts and Sharla Kliebenstein. Paige Affleck and Jessica Fitu. W—Affleck. L—Ricketts.
Leading hitters—Hawaii: Kliebenstein 2-2, 2b, HR, RBI. BYU: Jessica Dugas 2-3, run; Carly Duckworth 2b, RBI.