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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, May 18, 2001

Omori, Rainbows rip sinking Vulcans, 11-2

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Gregg Omori continues to torment Hawai'i-Hilo.

The Rainbows' designated hitter batted 4-for-5 with six RBIs as Hawai'i dropped the Vulcans, 11-2, in Western Athletic Conference baseball last night. He has 15 RBIs in four meetings against the Vulcans.

A neighborhood board meeting crowd of 586 at Rainbow Stadium watched the Rainbows (27-27, 14-20 WAC) reach .500 for the first time since Feb. 25, when they were 7-7. Meanwhile, the Vulcans (5-43, 3-31) have lost 18th straight.

Jeff Coleman (8-6) struck out a season-high 13 in his third complete-game of the season. He allowed seven hits and no walks. It might have been his last game as a Rainbow as he is expected to be taken in next month's amateur draft. He said he wanted to go for strikeouts even before the game started.

"I wanted to go out with a bang, this being my last game this year, maybe, forever," he said. "I wanted to throw really well."

Coleman, the Rainbows' most successful and consistent starter, said he wants to sign if he is drafted.

"I've talked to Coach (Carl Furutani), talked to some scouts and situation looks good that I'll probably end up signing," he said.

He added his decision will not be based on who the new coach will be next season.

Meanwhile, UHH starter Zeb Watts (0-8) pitched well enough to win, allowing three runs in six innings. But the Vulcans' bullpen did not help, allowing eight runs in the last two innings. The Rainbows sent 11 batters to the plate in a five-run seventh and seven in a three-run eighth. Both innings were highlighted by three-run doubles by Omori.

"I was kind of shocked to see that," Omori said of his performance. "I was hoping Patrick (Scalabrini) would get a chance with the bases loaded. But I had two strikes and I had to swing."

Omori was referring to his second bases-clearing double, when he broke for first on a 3-0, then 3-1 pitch in hopes of drawing a walk. But both times the pitches were strikes. He then drilled the full-count pitch to right-center.

The Vulcans took a 1-0 lead off UH's ace when Mike Hobbs led off the game with a double and scored on Kaliko Oligo's single to left-center. The Rainbows took the lead they would never relinquish in the fifth on Tim Montgomery's two-run home run. It was his third home of the year and second in as many games.

"We've done that all year, play six or seven good innings," UHH coach Joey Estrella said. "Then it just seems we can't get an out, can't make a play. It's real disheartening. We seem to shoot ourselves in the foot. We've had lot of innings where we give up multiple runs. When it was 3-1, you still have a chance in the ball game, but when you give up a five spot in the seventh inning it makes it tough."

The Vulcans' only other run came in the ninth, when Oligo led off with a double, took third on a single with one out and scored when pinch-hitter Darren Chu grounded into a force at second base.

The series continues at 6:35 tonight. Chad Giannetti (5-5) will pitch for UH against Robert Shimabuku (1-10) of UHH.

Tosses: About 900 tickets remain for tomorrow's 6 p.m. game, which is being promoted as Les Murakami Night. The ticket office and gates will open at 4:30 p.m. in anticipation of the large turnout. The first pitch won't be until about 6:20 p.m. At 6 p.m., there will be a presentation of the Chuck Leahey Award. At the same time, KFVE will be airing a 15-minute tribute to Murakami. Spectators are being advised that the state high school girls' basketball semifinals at the Stan Sheriff Center also is happening tomorrow.

Gregg Omori, a junior and eligible for the amateur draft, said he is looking into the possibility of playing professionally in Japan after this season. He said he was approached about the opportunity by Japanese baseball Hall of Famer Wally Yonamine, whose foundation sponsors the state high school tournament, before this season started.