Kalihi's Kira, Wildcats in UH's region
By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer
There will be ti leaves in more than one dugout at the NCAA Region 3 softball tournament today in Austin, Texas.
Hawai'i's dugout was adorned with good-luck symbols when the Rainbow Wahine opened the tournament against 13th-ranked LSU at 9 a.m. (4 a.m. in Hawai'i).
When the final game of the first round starts at 11:30 a.m. Hawai'i time, there will be Hawaiian good luck symbols in the dugout of No. 2 seed Northwestern.
The Wildcats' starting catcher, for the third straight year, is junior Jennalyn (JC) Kira, a 2000 St. Francis School graduate from Kalihi.
Kira was chosen second-team All-Big Ten by coaches, although the physical strain of starting all 52 games for the Wildcats wore down her batting average from .280 to .229 (32 -for-140) since April 13.
She had 22 RBIs, second on a team that finished second to Michigan in the Big Ten with a 35-17 record.
The earliest fifth-seeded Hawai'i and Northwestern could play in the tournament is Saturday, if the both win their first two games, or if they both split.
Also yesterday, California sophomore center fielder Kaleo Eldredge (Baldwin '01) was named second-team All-Pacific Region by the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association for the second year in a row.