'Bows won't bid to host Regional
by Stephen Tsai
"X" marks the playoff spot, but for the Hawai'i softball team, the postseason spot will not be in Mānoa.
The Rainbow Wahine, perfect in 14 Western Athletic Conference games, have clinched one of six berths in the league tournament, which will be held in Las Cruces, N.M.
Nearing their 40th overall victory, the Rainbows (36-11) appear to be on track to receiving a berth in the NCAA Regionals.
But the Rainbows have decided not to bid to host a Regional tournament.
UH head coach Bob Coolen noted the Rainbows will remain in New Mexico when the NCAA extends postseason invitations May 16.
"I said not to (bid) because we're going to be on the road," Coolen said. "It would just be too expensive, with us being on the road on selection Sunday. It will be a no-brainer (for the selection committee) to send us somewhere (on the Mainland) instead of sending three teams to Hawai'i, if they're looking at us at that time."
Coolen said he noticed that the Rainbows have an "x" next to "Hawai'i" in the WAC standings.
"I saw that on one of the websites," Coolen said. "I saw an 'X,' and I realized we qualified for the WAC tournament."
The Rainbows probably have done enough to receive consideration for, at the least, an at-large berth in the Regionals.
"No, no, no," Coolen said. "I'm not going to think about that."
Not when the Rainbows play three road games against Nevada this weekend, and three at home against Fresno State next week.
Nevada is "our nemesis," Coolen said. "We have a rival in Fresno, and a nemesis in Nevada."
Dating to the 2007 WAC tournament, the Wolf Pack has won eight of nine meetings.
"They started beating us on every occasion — whether it be at home, on the road, in the WAC tournament," Coolen said.
Three of those losses, indeed, were in the WAC tournament.
"They just developed this attitude they can beat us," Coolen said. "It doesn't matter how many runs we score. We were up one game, 6-0, and we lost 7-6. Last year, we were by five runs, and we lost by a run."
Coolen said Nevada lost several key seniors after last season. This year, the Wolf Pack is fighting to qualify for the WAC tournament.
Still, Coolen noted, "they have the ingredients not to ever give up. They've beaten us, and we've made mistakes in the late innings that cost us. Nevada is going to be tough. Nevada wants a spot in the playoffs."
In the preseason poll, the Wolf Pack was predicted to finish second in the eight-team WAC.
The Rainbows are prepared for all conditions. Earlier in the week, the mercury dropped to 33 degrees in Reno, with snow on the mountains.
"It doesn't matter what the weather is like," designated player Jenna Rodriguez said, "we're going to have to be ready."