Hawaii high off triple-whammy sports buzz - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii high off triple-whammy sports buzz

Ciera Senas Ciera Senas
Jim Donovan Jim Donovan
Bryan Nakasone Bryan Nakasone

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The islands' baseball legacy is paying off and it's more than a rise in ticket sales.

Hawaii Pacific University's champion softball team returned home Tuesday afternoon, and University of Hawaii's softball and baseball teams are still in the running for more national titles.

That has Hawaii getting a lot of exposure.

All three teams scored major victories in the last of couple days and that's translating into much-needed sports dollars.

HPU's Lady Sea Warriors, now number one in the nation, are still hearing the cheers a day after their big win in Missouri.

"Especially being from Hawaii, no one would expect us to be there, be the number one team," said Sophomore Maile Kim, who plays Utility.

"Chee Hooo! We were wishing that we were there," said Amy and Jed Tesoro, proud parents.

It's the first time HPU's softball team has ever snatched the Division Two title.

At their homecoming at the Honolulu International Airport, outfielder Ciera Senas dedicated the victory to her dad who died three months ago.

"My dad was like a fighter, you know. He never gave up and that's what he taught me - never to give up so I went out there as a senior, as a leader I had to suck up and swallow my pride and do it for the team do it for all the girls and my family," said Senas.

And there's no shortage of inspiration in Hawaii sports right now.

With a win on Sunday, the Wahine softball team is going to the Division One World Series for the first time in UH history.

And UH's baseball team, fresh off its WAC title win Sunday, is now headed to the NCAA regionals.

The University is banking on all the exposure. UH Baseball games attracted an average 2000 fans a game. Ticket sales are up threefold.

"It was about 1000 per game when I first became A.D.," said UH Athletics Director Jim Donovan.

Donovan says that's led to a spike in baseball revenue.

"Maybe up almost a quarter million dollars from where we were a couple years ago so that's a real positive."

UH softball averaged 1000 fans per game with a big spike toward the end of the season. Admission is free but Donovan says they're thinking of changing that.

"But it's sort of a mixed bag for us because we did charge at one point in the past, about almost 10 years ago, and it dropped our average attendance down to like 250 people a game."

The Lady Sea Warriors are savoring their win and looking forward to a boost in recruiting.

"I get hundreds of emails a week from potential players which is a great thing for the school. Hopefully it brings us out of the economic deficit," said Bryan Nakasone, HPU softball head coach.

HPU is also hoping the national attention the Lady Sea Warriors have been getting will lead to more athletic scholarships.

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