Rainbow Wahine in must-win situation
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Like the record-setting home runs of Stacey Porter, the University of Hawai'i softball team's regional chances have become a long shot.
The Rainbows, 30-20 overall and 11-5 in the Western Athletic Conference, must win their remaining 10 games just to be considered for a regional. And even with the supposed magic number of 40 victories, there still is no guarantee of a bid, UH coach Bob Coolen said.
Two games behind conference leader No. 13 Fresno State (41-14, 12-2), it is unlikely the Rainbows will overtake the Bulldogs to win the conference title and automatic regional bid. Their only hope is through an at-large. But with the Pac-10 likely to get six at-large bids and the Big West three, "it gets real tough," Coolen said. "I'm more of a realist. It's a matter of how we've performed there (at past regionals) and how we do in the next 10 games. We have to dominate (on the road trip)."
The Rainbows play at Portland State (17-26, 6-8) in doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday. They then play the weakest Pac-10 team, Oregon (18-21), in a non-conference doubleheader Tuesday at Eugene.
Coolen is not sure if the Rainbows could dominate, even against an opponent with a losing record. "Portland State always finds a way to beat us," he says.
The Rainbows return for their regular-season finale against Tulsa May 10-11 in a WAC series. Tulsa (41-12, 8-6) is a game behind UH.
"They have the second-best overall record in the WAC," Coolen noted.
Meanwhile, the Rainbows have issues of their own. Coolen said he has not settled on a starting rotation for the road trip. After a strong start, Sheri Oronoz (17-10, 1.97 ERA) "has been faltering the last couple of games," he said. But freshman Shannon Tabion (4-3, 1.99) has pitched well of late.