UH in hot pursuit of Series berth Softball talent in Hawaii is no secret
Eliminating all distractions
BY Stephen Tsai
There is a telling sign that this weekend's NCAA Super Regional will match two softball teams with diverse backgrounds.
"On one of the digital billboards," Hawai'i center fielder Kelly Majam said of the drive through Tuscaloosa, Ala. "It says: 'Aloha, y'all.' That was kind of cool."
The Rainbow Wahine and Crimson Tide meet in a best-of-three series starting tomorrow, with the winner advancing to next week's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Rainbows, who have been on the road for 2 1/2 weeks, arrived in Tuscaloosa late Tuesday. They practiced yesterday at the Alabama Softball Complex, their first full workout since defeating Texas Tech in the past Sunday's Stanford regional title game.
It was an extreme rehearsal for the Rainbows. The practice started at noon, and the humidity was at 80 percent.
"It was very muggy, very sticky, and humid-hot," Majam said.
It should be more comfortable for tomorrow's 5 p.m. start.
"It's OK," said catcher Katie Grimes, who was raised in Florida. "I love the heat and humidity."
The workout proved to be beneficial for starting pitcher Stephanie Ricketts, who threw enough pitches to go through a lineup twice.
"She's doing well," said Grimes, who calls all of the UH pitches. "She's staying focused. It was good for her to get acclimated."
Alabama's stadium is similar to the one at Stanford, where the Rainbows won a regional last weekend. It is 200 feet down the lines, 220 feet to straightaway center. But the Alabama fences are about 5 feet high, half the height of Stanford's.
"I felt good pitching there," Ricketts said. "It was good to go through a couple of lineups, just to get back into pitching."
She also does not anticipate the humidity being an obstacle. The Rainbows brought along extra rosin bags, which feature a powdery substance that keeps hands dry.
Most important, Grimes said, is the Rainbows need to remain focused in a town that is painted red.
"My main concern is making sure we don't let the outside elements get to us," Grimes said. "Every where you look is Crimson Tide red. We have to stay focused."