Dana Thomsen previously handled the type of work load she carried for the Rainbow Wahine softball team last week … but it’s been a while.
“I haven’t pitched this much since I was like 14-and-under in tournament ball,” the senior right-hander said.
Prior to last week’s Outrigger Resorts Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament, Thomsen said coach Bob Coolen “came up to me and he was like, ‘are you ready to be pitching a lot? And I was, ‘of course.’”
An injury to fellow senior Brittany Hitchcock left Thomsen as the only Wahine pitcher with a college start and she took the ball for each game in the five-day tournament. She went 2-3 while throwing 24 2/3 innings in an undulating week.
While Thomsen hopes Hitchcock can return to the circle, she’s preparing for another potentially busy week in the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic starting Wednesday.
UH (12-11) opens its last nonconference tournament of the season at 6 p.m. Wednesday against North Dakota (13-11) at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The Wahine then take on No. 4 Tennessee (24-1) on Thursday followed by a rematch with UND on Friday. They close the three-week homestand against Cleveland State (8-11) on Saturday and Maryland (7-17) on Sunday.
“It’s hard to know your partner is in pain, but definitely just trying to get through it for her and let her see that we are capable and we’re going win for her,” Thomsen said of Hitchcock.
“It’s definitely something you don’t really think is going to happen and then you’re like ‘here we go, another day.’ Then again, what I’ve trained for my whole life is being a pitcher. If circumstances were flipped I’d want Brittany to go out there and give it her all all the time.”
Hitchcock (5-4) was coming off an all-tournament performance in the Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament and lowered her earned-run average to 1.97 prior to the injury. Thomsen, who went 8-7 last season, enters this week’s tournament at 7-7 with a 2.70 ERA in 14 starts with 71 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings.
She opened the Spring Fling with a five-inning shutout in UH’s rout of East Carolina. She took a hard-luck loss in a 2-1 defeat to BYU and gave up two homers in a 4-2 loss to Longwood. She endured her shortest start of the season in a lopsided loss to James Madison, but followed with one of the sharpest of her UH career, closing the tournament with a one-hit shutout of Arkansas Pine Bluff on Sunday.
“Of course there’s going to be physical strain … But I think the hardest thing you have to get through is not necessarily the soreness but mentally preparing for each team,” Thomsen said, “because normally at night after a game you get to reflect and let your mind settle for a couple of days.
“My teammates have been there for me and they’ve definitely been supporting me.”
Freshman Emily Klee made two relief appearances last week and held Longwood to two hits and struck out three over three innings in her longest stint to that point. She relieved Thomsen against James Madison and gave up five runs over 3 1/3 innings. Freshman Dominique Martinez threw a scoreless inning against JMU.
Although the daily starting assignments test her physical and mental endurance, Thomsen is savoring the opportunities she has left in her UH career.
“As a senior, I’m enjoying every minute of it,” Thomsen said. “Even during the long games, it’s something I’m going to miss when I’m done. … I’m where I want to be.”