Pitcher Robinson honored by WAC
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
The remarkable thing wasn't that Kate Robinson became the first Hawai'i-raised pitcher to throw a perfect game for the University of Hawai'i softball team.
Or that she received only 20 minutes' notice that she would start against New Mexico State on Saturday.
It was that she wasn't supposed to be a UH pitcher when she was recruited as a Kamehameha Schools senior in 2004.
"We brought her in as a first baseman," UH coach Bob Coolen said. "We're very happy she developed into an accomplished pitcher."
Yesterday, Robinson was named the Western Athletic Conference's Pitcher of the Week.
"I'm a little surprised," Robinson said. "I didn't know if that (one game) would be enough."
Coolen said: "Kudos to Kate for what she did on Saturday. I'm glad the WAC recognized an accomplishment that's not easily duplicated."
Robinson dominated the Aggies, 8-0, in a game called in the bottom of the sixth because of the mercy rule. She relied on risers clocked at nearly 65 mph — the equivalent of 92-mph fastballs in baseballs — rise-curves and downballs to strike out 14 of 18 batters. She had only one three-ball count.
Although her teammates kept mum, she said: "I knew I had a perfect game. I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to throw off my rhythm."
To celebrate, Robinson said, "I slept. I was so tired."
She has been a sleeper during her UH career, serving as the backup to first baseman Tyleen Tausaga, an occasional right-fielder and a reliable relief pitcher.
Now she is the situational No. 2 pitcher, behind ace Justine Smethurst. "If we're going against a team struggling against a 'heavy' ball, a team swinging for the fences, we'll use Kate," Coolen said.
Because of Robinson's development, Coolen said, he will not recruit a pitcher to replace Paula Blanning, who completes her NCAA eligibility at the end of this semester.
Reach Stephen Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org.