When Dave Shoji announced his retirement Monday afternoon, Rainbow Wahine softball head coach Bob Coolen became the second-longest tenured active coach on lower campus.
He has 26 years at the University of Hawaii, just one year behind sailing head coach Andy Johnson.
Like Shoji did in 2009, Coolen is approaching 1,000 career victories. Three more wins would put him in elite company, joining former tennis coach Jim Schwitters and baseball’s Les Murakami in addition to Shoji.
As the Rainbow Wahine prepare for four games over the next four days, Coolen says he’s more concerned with numbers on the stat sheet than the countdown to his milestone win.
“I’ve been worried about our batting average, which has crept up close to .300 right now. That’s all I’ve been concerned about, is where are we going to go next with the lineup and the pitching rotation?” he said.
The team (4-3, 0-0 Big West) returns home to host four consecutive tournaments beginning with the Bank of Hawaii Invitational which runs from February 23-26. Coming to Honolulu to compete in the tourney will be No. 5/6 Oregon, UNLV and Montana.
The Rainbow Wahine went 2-2 in last week’s DeMarini Desert Classic, notching wins over San Jose State and Idaho State while falling to BYU and Texas State. In UH’s four games in Las Vegas, Nev., Danielle Garcielita led the Rainbow Wahine, hitting a team-high .571 (8-for-14) with a team-best on-base percentage of .600. The transfer from North Carolina is the only UH player to have recorded a hit in each of the first seven games. Overall, Garcielita, who is UH’s leadoff hitter and starting centerfielder, has gotten off to a strong start leading the ‘Bows with 11 hits and four walks to go with her team-high .478 batting average (11-for-23) and team-high on-base percentage of .556.
The ‘Bows’ No. 2 hitter, Sarah Muzik, has also started the season off with a bang. She is hitting .391 (9-for-23) with a team-high three doubles. Last season, Muzik played at second, short, and in the outfield as a utility player, but this year she has started all seven games at second base. Muzik is second on the team with five RBI and has also scored a run. Freshman designated player Callee Heen leads Hawai’i with seven RBI and is hitting .286 (6-for-21) with a pair of doubles and a home run while Heather Cameron has scored a team-high five runs and is hitting .235 (4-for-17) with a .350 on-base percentage.
In the pitching circle, Brittany Hitchcock has seen the bulk of the innings thus far. She has a 3-1 record with a 1.58 ERA in 31.0 innings pitched. She has fired four complete games with two shutouts. Hitchcock has 28 strikeouts and seven walks while holding opposing hitters to a .174 batting average. Kanani Aina Cabrales has made two appearances this season and is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 11.0 innings pitched. Dana Thomsen made two appearances in relief on the road this past week. She is 0-1 with a 5.83 ERA in 6.0 innings.
Bank of Hawaii Invitational Information
Who: Hawai’i (4-3, 0-0 Big West), No. 5/6 Oregon (9-0, 0-0 Pac-12), Montana (4-5, 0-0 Big Sky), UNLV (7-2, 0-0 Mountain West)
When: February 23-26, 2017
Where: Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium (1,200) – Honolulu, HI
Promotions: Bank of Hawaii is the tournament sponsor and will provide RuMe Tote bags for the winners of the popular “Ballpark Bingo.” Also, Bank of Hawaii tote bags will be thrown into the stands during the fourth inning of each UH game.
Live stats: Available at HawaiiAthletics.com’s softball page.
Admission is FREE at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
Coaches: Hawai’i head coach Bob Coolen is in his 26th season and has a 925-546-1 record at UH. He has a career-record of 997-644-1 in 31 seasons. Oregon’s head coach Mike White is in his eighth season with the Ducks and has a record of 337-93-1. Montana’s Jamie Pinkerton is in his third season with the Grizzlies and has a 315-345 overall career record and a 45-61 mark at Montana. UNLV’s head coach Lisa Dodd is in her fifth year with the Rebels and has a career record of 100-121.
Series Records: Oregon holds a 13-9 advantage in the all-time series against UH. The Ducks have won the last two games, both at the 2014 Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic. In the most recent meeting between the two teams, Oregon (who was ranked No. 2 at that time) won 3-0 on March 15. Hawai’i has a slight 36-32 edge over UNLV. The last meeting between the two teams was a 12-2 (5 inning) win over the Rebels at UNLV’s Desert Classic in 2012. This is Hawai’i’s first meeting against Montana who started their program in 2015.
BANK OF HAWAII INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017
6:00 pm Hawai’i vs. Oregon
Friday, Feb. 24, 2017
1:30 pm Oregon vs. Montana
4:00 pm Oregon vs. UNLV
6:30 pm Hawai’i vs. UNLV
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017
10:00 am Montana vs. Oregon
12:00 pm Montana vs. Oregon
2:00 pm Montana vs. UNLV
4:00 pm Hawai’i vs UNLV
Sunday, February 26, 2017
10:00 am UNLV vs. Montana
12:00 pm Hawai’i vs. Montana