Hawaii softball: Rainbow Wahine settle into new roles in opening tournament

Newcomer Sammie Ofoia hit a home run against Iowa State on Friday. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser

The Paradise Classic ended the way it started for the Hawaii softball team.

With a lopsided win over Northern Colorado.

In between, the Rainbow Wahine took their lumps from Memphis and Iowa State, the latter of which went on to win the four-team tournament on Saturday afternoon, as they worked through new roles and responsibilities.

After beating UNC 11-2 in the season opener Thursday, the Wahine absorbed 8-4 and 15-3 successive defeats to ISU and Memphis on Friday. The first loss, though closer, might have been the more painful as UH led ISU most of the way, then gave up seven runs in the sixth inning as Ashley Murphy was chased.

In a bracketed semifinal Saturday morning, Iowa State, which made the program’s first trip to the islands, beat UH one more time, 7-2.

Still, the Wahine managed to take third place by beating the UNC Bears 9-0 (not 9-1 as listed in the embedded video) in the final game of the day Saturday.

Murphy, a sophomore who was a reliever last year, bounced back with her best outing to date. She picked up her first win of the season, and third career, in tossing a one-hitter in the five-inning win over the Bears. Sophomore Izzy Dino started the other three games in her new role as the front-line pitcher, going 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA.

Hitting-wise, Cheeks Ramos led UH with a .429 average (6-for-14) and four extra-base hits through the tournament while easing into her new role as third baseman; the hot corner was occupied by All-Big West mainstay Nicole Lopez the last few years. Senior catcher Callee Heen had a team-high eight RBIs and team-high on-base percentage of .556.

Division I transfers Sammie Ofoia (SIU-Edwardsville) and Nawai Kaupe (Washington) each supplied a home run during the tournament. Heen and Brittnee Rossi also went deep one time.

UH (2-3) eschewed its usual trip to Las Vegas this year in favor of doing the Golden State Classic tournament at Lake Elsinore, Calif. UH opens up with a doubleheader against Utah State (1-4) and Army (4-1) on Friday.

Sophomore Ashley Murphy pitched against Iowa State on Friday. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser


  1. H-Man February 9, 2020 11:36 pm

    Besides Mukrphy, who pitched well, I thought freshman pitcher Amanda Ajari showed a lot of promise. And I feel Gandia-Mak should find her way in the line-up, other than DH.

  2. Matt February 10, 2020 10:39 am

    This schedule that Bob Coolen put up is supposed to make it look like a challenge, but at the same token, how will this team prepare to face the likes of CSF, LBSU, and CSUN when conference play starts? It’s up in the air at that point. However, this team is much different than last year’s. Keep in mind, there’s no Hitchcock, no Lopez, no Cameron, and no Sojka. This is an entirely different lineup than what is the norm.

    But as the season continues on for the softball team, the newcomers going to have to learn getting used to the pace of college softball, especially the freshmen. I thought that Nawai, Kaena, and Sammie showed promise to start, but at the same time, this is a really young class Bob is working with. No seniors that are pitchers, and two, three possibly(?) seniors in Cheeks Ramos and Callee Heen (Not sure if Soma should count, despite being a 4th-year junior).

    Not sure if this is more towards a rebuild for Coolen, but it’s giving me concerns that we’re seeing a re-run of the 2018 season because, this season, like the 2018 one, doesn’t have Hitchcock. If you recall the 2018 season, Hitchcock was fine, up until she got injured just 9 games in. It gave leeway to Dana Thompsen, Klee and Martinez to pitch. This time, it’s the utilization of Dino, Murphy, Bartolotti, Ajari, Martinez and Klee. Basically, Coolen’s having to use all the pitching he’s got.

    But yeah, concerns moving into BWC play, this is where it becomes a concern to see whether or not these girls can hang. Wouldn’t be surprised if they were to beat the odds and became BWC champs.

  3. NorthShoreFan February 10, 2020 3:51 pm

    IMHO, every year is a rebuild year. What happened last years don’t count. Every year, we get new players who have to be worked into the line up.
    It comes down to players focusing and getting things done that they have to get done. We’ll be competitive and hopefully playing for a championship at the end.

  4. darkfire35 February 12, 2020 8:10 pm

    3. Agreed. It may be comparing apples and oranges but look at the Wahine Volleyball team. 9 newcomers (5 freshmen & 4 transfers) that took the mind set to work hard together and quickly too! The mindset to constantly improve and get better is the same regardless of the sport.

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