Rossi savors first walk-off homer

UH freshman Brittnee Rossi went 5-for-8 with two home runs, including a walk-off shot against Cleveland State, in Thursday's doubleheader.

Brittnee Rossi’s first two collegiate home runs required 240-foot sprints.

Her third sailed nearly that far to give the Hawaii freshman the first walk-off homer of her softball career.

After the Rainbow Wahine fell behind early against Cleveland State on Thursday, Rossi got UH on the board by circling the bases for her second inside-the-park home run of the season.

With the Wahine still down two in the bottom of the seventh, she came up with one out and two runners on and blasted a shot well beyond the fence 200-feet away in right center to give the Wahine a 6-5 victory in the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic.

“It was one of those swings where you just don’t feel the ball at all,” said Rossi, who had her first inside-the-park homer against Idaho State on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas.

“It was just such a rush. It was just all so fast but it was definitely very exhilarating. An awesome feeling.”

Rossi followed up her multi-homer game by drilling hard singles in her first two plate appearances against No. 4 Tennessee in UH’s second game of the night. The Wahine pushed the Lady Vols — closing to 5-4 in the fifth inning — before Tennessee pulled away late in a 10-5 win to end UH’s three-game winning streak.

But Rossi’s 5-for-8 performance in the doubleheader split buoyed her spirits as the Wahine approach the end of a grueling stretch.

“It definitely boosted my confidence because I think I was in a little bit of a slump mentally,” Rossi said. “So (the homer) definitely boosted my confidence in that game and coming into this game, especially against a team like Tennessee.”

Rossi’s homer gave UH its second straight walk-off win a night after Danielle Garcielita‘s sacrifice fly capped a nine-inning victory over North Dakota. She provided half of a power-packed evening for UH’s contingent from San Benito High School in Hollister, Calif.

Rossi and UH sophomore Callee Heen were teammates with the Haybalers and combined for four homers and seven RBIs in Manoa on Thursday. Heen homered in both games, including a two-run blast in the fifth inning against Tennessee.

“(Hawaii) is so far from where I live, so having her here definitely helped me,” Rossi said.

Heen and Rossi ended the night as UH’s top two hitters. Heen leads the Wahine at .392 with a team-high nine homers and 24 RBIs. Rossi’s batting average is next at .323 with three homers and her 12 RBIs is tied with Nicole Lopez for second on the team.

Rossi is also back in a familiar role in the batting order, spending the last five games as the Wahine leadoff hitter.

“When I was in travel (ball) and my high school years I was in that spot, but never would have thought I’d be in that collegiate spot,” she said. “It’s a little nerve wracking but I got used to it. It’s definitely some big shoes to fill.”

UH freshman Emily Klee earned her first collegiate win against Cleveland State.
Rossi’s homer against Cleveland State gave fellow freshman Emily Klee her first collegiate win in relief of starter Dana Thomsen. Klee threw 4 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. She returned to throw the last two innings against Tennessee and surrendered the Vols’ final two runs and struck out three.

The Rainbow Wahine Classic continues Friday with UH (14-12) facing North Dakota at 7 p.m. The Wahine face Cleveland State again at 4 p.m. on Saturday and close the weekend against Maryland at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

>> Also Thursday, UH pitcher Brittany Hitchcock was named as one of 30 candidates for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award.

According to the announcement, “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.”

Here’s a full accounting of Hitchcock’s accomplishments in her five years at UH.

>> Kapolei junior Cira Bartolotti has committed to help bolster the UH pitching staff as part of the 2019 recruiting class. Here’s the Hawaii Prep World story by Nick Abramo.


  1. roygbivs March 16, 2018 3:03 pm

    Hope the rough non-conference helps us in the conference.

    We should be up in the top-3 yearly IMO

  2. KOH I NOR March 20, 2018 12:53 pm

    She hit it solid. Good mechanics. Hollister, California. San Banito High school.

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