By Kevin Kacatin
Febuary 28, 2012
Aloha Rainbow Wahine Softball fans!
It has been quite the opening month of Hawaii Softball full of "firsts"!!! To open the season, the 2012 Rainbow Wahine dominated the 2012 Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic in style finishing 6-0 against tournament opponents Missouri-Kansas City, Seattle and DePaul. The Rainbow Wahine wasted no time in showing what this year's squad is capable of as they out scored their first batch of opponents 47-5!!!
The following road trip to Las Vegas, NV for the 2012 Louisville Slugger Tournament proved that the tremendous momentum captured early on the month was running on all six cylinders!!! Against Portland State, Idaho State, Memphis, UNLV, and future Big West Conference opponents Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside, the Rainbow Wahine continued the offensive assault by finishing their leg of the tournament 6-0 and out scored these opponents 62-6!!!
The accolades and accomplishments do not end there! While there is no "I" in "team", several Rainbow Wahine have already made their marks on the season. For the week of February 6-12 senior pitcher Stephanie Ricketts was named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for the first time this season and is the eighth time of her University of Hawaii career that this senior earned this conference honor. In addition to this honor, Ricketts was tabbed as one of thirty NCAA softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field as candidates today for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence community, classroom, character and competition. She is the first candidate ever selected from the Rainbow Wahine softball program.
Off the field, Ricketts is a psychology major who is slated to graduate this spring in four years with a B.A. degree. She is a two-time NFCA scholar-Athlete and two-time academic all-WAC player. Ricketts is also a long-time volunteer mostly in her hometown of San Jose, Calif., where she's helped in various hospitals and nursing facilities and helped distribute care packages to homeless families. While in Hawai`i, she has served as a Special Olympics and Kids' Fest volunteer; helped conduct softball clinics; and she is currently a SAAC (Student Athletes Advisory Committee) representative. Most recently, she and her sisters Samantha and Keilani were instructors and supervisors of a softball clinic in Pago Pago, Samoa in conjunction with the annual Samoa Bowl activities. After graduation, Ricketts is interested following in her mother and grandmother's footsteps in furthering her education to become either a psychiatric or oncology nurse and would like to continue playing softball oversees while continuing to run clinics in Samoa.
To add to the frenzy of February, freshmen designated player Leisha Liilii and catcher Kayla Wartner both earned their first home runs of their college careers. Liilii smashed her first home run (three run homer) in a pivotal 6th inning situation against Missouri-Kansas City on Friday, February 10th to lead the Rainbow Wahine to a 5-1 win and Wartner unveiled her power with a solo shot against that very same Missouri-Kansas City on Monday, February 13th to end a scoreless pitching dual leading the Wahine to a 1-0 victory!
However, my friends the madness does NOT stop there!!! Freshman Leisha Liilii batted her way to another epic performance during the 2012 Louisville Slugger Tournament as she hit her first collegiate grand slam against Memphis on Feb 16th leading the Wahine to a 9-1 victory, but she was NOT the only Rainbow Wahine to show their opponents that when it rains, IT POURS!!!!!!! Sophomore outfielder/catcher Sharla Kliebenstein joined in on the fun with a grand slam of her own against Portland State the following day capping off an 11-3 victory and senior 1st baseman Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu polished off UNLV with.. yes.. you guessed it, another grand slam of her own on the way to a 12-2 victory to bring the Rainbow Wahine to a 12-0 record on the season!!!
The 12-0 Rainbow Wahine are currently off to the BEST start in the history of the program and soon that was recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaching Association and the USA Today Top 25 Polls as the Rainbow Wahine entered at #25 on February 21st.
The month of March will be a blessing, but a non-stop version of softball "March Madness" as the Rainbow Wahine begin a month long home stand starting this week with the 2012 Bank of Hawaii Invitation with opponents Radford, UC Santa Barbara, and Florida State. The Rainbow Wahine will open against Radford at 6pm on Friday, March 2nd. The rest of the schedule can be found at our "schedule" section on our booster club website!
============================BOOSTER CLUB NEWS==========================
-Our inaugural "DOLLARS FOR DINGERS/KOKUA FOR K'S" fundraising pledge drive is up and running and as of today, we have received a dozen pledges! Fans and boosters may pledge ANY dollar amount of their choice for every home run and/or strike out by our Rainbow Wahine for the 2012 season. At the end of the season, including any and all post-season play, we will tally the final statistics and contact you for your final gift amount based on your pledge amounts. As with all funds received via membership fees and outright donations, your generosity will help support the Na Wahine Softball Booster Club with providing post game meals after all home games, additional equipment or training needs, and assist in financing the professional development of the softball program! Download the pledge form on our site and show your support today!!!
-All home games continue to be FREE of admission, but as in the past, we are still accepting outright donations (cash or check) at our booster club tent at all home games. Since starting this initiative two years ago, we have collected over $3,000.00 in outright cash and check donations!!!
-JOIN THE OHANA!!! We are currently up to about 40 members for the 2012 season and anticipating more renewals and new members as the season progresses. The Na Wahine Softball Booster Club had a "banner" year in 2011 finishing the year with over 70 members!!! You may download and print out the application on our menu page as well as sign up with a credit or debit card as well!!!
-WE ARE EVERYWHERE!!! The Na Wahine Softball Booster Club is all around the world of social media! To date our Facebook page www.facebook.com/NaWahineSoftballBoosters has over 350 friends to date including parents of our Rainbow Wahine and UH letterwinners and alumnae spanning the entire history of Rainbow Wahine Softball and our Twitter account (under "@NaWahineSB") has over 100 followers. The utilization of social media outlets has allowed us to interact with our members, letterwinners, and alumnae on a more frequent and consistent basis. We also utilize Facebook and Twitter to post booster club updates and game day weather updates and pre game info as it happens!
MAHALO NUI LOA AND SEE YOU AT THE RAINBOW WAHINE SOFTBALL STADIUM!!!
"NE'EPAPA I KE O MAU" - FOREVER MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER