UH sweeps 3-game series from SJSU to open WAC
• Photo gallery: Hawaii vs. San Jose State softball
By Stephen Tsai
Kelly Majam's surname is a palindrome; her game is a puzzle to softball opponents.
Yesterday, Majam slammed three home runs to boost Hawai'i to a 7-3 and 7-1 doubleheader sweep of San Jose State at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The Rainbow Wahine opened their Western Athletic Conference season with a sweep of this three-game series.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Majam blasted a shot that landed in the tennis courts beyond the fence in right-center field.
In the second game, she pulled two homers over the scoreboard in right field.
Majam now has 18 home runs, and is on pace to shatter Kate Robinson's team record of 21 home runs, set in 2008.
All of which raises the question: Huh?
Majam, who is left-handed, is about 5 feet 3, when she inhales, and has a slim frame.
"I have to use my whole body, and mostly my legs," said Majam, a second-year freshman who did not play in 2009 after suffering a torn knee ligament.
UH coach Bob Coolen said Majam uses "everything from her arms down to her lower body in that swing. It's not just an arm swing. It's a full-body torque."
Coolen also said Majam's bat speed is about 70 mph. In comparison, a collegiate softball pitcher's fastest pitch usually is no more than 68 mph, which equates to a mid-90-mph fastball in baseball.
"Her bat is traveling so much faster than the pitched ball," Coolen marveled.
Majam credits the Rainbows' intensive weight-training program, as well as the Stealth model bat that most of the players use. The yellow-tinged bat is 34 inches in length and weighs 24 ounces. It is a two-piece bat that offers extra spring perfected from a few years of use.
"I really like them," Majam said. "They're worked in. Half of the lineup uses the same bats. They're really good bats. We don't use those bats in practice. They're only for games. We don't want to take any hits away from them."
In yesterday's first game, leftfielder Kanani Pu'u-Warren also hit a two-run homer to support Kaia Parnaby's complete game.
Parnaby spaced nine hits, but she walked none and struck out seven.
A few times, catcher Katie Grimes implored Parnaby, a freshman lefthander from Australia, to remain focused.
"A lot of times Kaia gets ahead (in the count), and the next thing you know, it's a full count," Grimes said. "It's important for her to shorten the game, to make it easier on herself to stay focused, to get in her rhythm and not the batter's rhythm."
In the second game, the Rainbows faced Amanda Pridmore, who pitched the series' opener.
Pridmore relies heavily on a riseball. This time, several Rainbows decided to move back in the batter's box, giving themselves a better view of the riseball. Not chasing pitches above the strike zone, Coolen noted, Pridmore's riser became ineffective.
When Pridmore altered her strategy, the result was two pitches that Majam could pull.
SJSU (23-10, 0-2) 020 100 0—3 9 2
HAWAI'I (24-11, 2-0) 020 212 X— 7 8 0
Jaclyn Imhof, Jennifer Ames (5) and Brittany McConnell. Kaia Parnaby and Katie Grimes. W—Parnaby (13-5). L—Imhof (7-5).
Leading hitters—SJSU: Kelli Fangonilo double; McConnell double; Ursula Lopez 2-3, double, homer, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Julianne Aiello 2-3. UH: Kelly Majam homer, 2 RBIs; Jessica Iwata double; Alexandra Aguirre 2-2, 2 runs; Kanani Pu'u-Warren homer, 2 RBIs.
SJSU (23-11, 0-3) 000 000 1—1 6 2
HAWAI'I (25-11, 3-0) 001 024 X— 7 10 1
Amanda Pridmore, Jennifer Ames (6) and Brittany McConnell. Stephanie Ricketts and Katie Grimes. W—Ricketts (11-6). L—Pridmore (11-2).
Leading hitters—SJSU: Kelli Fangonilo 3-4; Julianne Aiello 2-3, double. UH: Kelly Majam 3-4, two homers, 4 RBIs, 3 runs; Jessica Iwata 4-4, 2 RBIs; Grimes 2-3.