HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawai'i softball players Jessica Iwata and Stephanie Ricketts were named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for March 12-18. This is the first honor of the season and third of her career for Iwata and the third of the season and 10th overall for Ricketts.
Iwata, a junior shortstop from Lihu'e, Kaua'i (Kaua'i HS), hit .286 with a double, a home run and three RBI, including a pair of game-winning, walk-off RBI. The Rainbow Wahine faced three teams ranked in the top 25, including two in the top 10. Against No. 1/2 California, Iwata drilled a two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Hawai'i to a 3-1 win over the previously unbeaten Golden Bears. In the final game of the tournament, she hit a game-winning sacrifice fly to centerfield to drive in Dara Pagaduan in the bottom of the seventh inning to give UH a 2-1 win over Winthrop. For the week, Iwata had a team-high .353 on-base percentage and .571 slugging percentage.
Ricketts, a senior from San Jose, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty HS), went 2-2 on the week and earned one of the biggest wins in Hawai'i history, defeating No. 1/2 California. Against the top-ranked Golden Bears, she threw all 10 innings without giving up an earned run and tied her season-high with 12 strikeouts. For the week, she threw four complete games, including three straight, and posted a 1.35 ERA with 32 strikeouts.
The Rainbow Wahine (24-2) now have their sights focused on the start of their 16th and final season in the Western Athletic Conference. Last season the 'Bows finished in fourth place with a 14-7 conference record. UH begins their WAC season against San Jose State (16-16) this Friday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m. with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 24 starting at 2:00 p.m.