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Volume 68, Issue 126, Friday, April 4, 2003

Sports
 

UH 'D' a work in progress

By Keenan Singleton
The Daily Cougar

Hitting. Check. 

Pitching. Check.

Defense. Check back later.

That is the UH softball teamis problem. Yeah, they can hit. Yeah, they can pitch. But, no one ever said, "hitting wins championships."



Junior pitcher Jenny Johnson is one of the softball team leaders on pitching, but the Cougars may start concentrating on their defense as they head to Charlotte, N.C., to face the 49ers in a three-game series beginning Saturday.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

"‘Defense wins championshipsi has been our theme, and itis something that Iive preached since ‘Day Onei," head coach Kyla Holas said. "The girls are starting to see that if we play good defense, we can hang with anyone."

But last weekend against No. 9 DePaul, the Cougars hung themselves. Eight errors by the Cougars were more than enough to clinch a three-game sweep by the Blue Demons.

This weekendis opponent, the Charlotte 49ers (12-18), may be the panacea the Cougars need. The 49ers are tied for seventh (of nine) in the conference standings and have lost six in a row. Offensively, they are led by Houston native, junior Denise Atmar (.307, three home runs, 18 RBIs). Another Houstonian, Spring High School graduate Amy Morse (4-7, 3.10 earned run average) is the 49ers No. 1 pitcher. In all, the Niners have three players from the city of Houston.

"We feel very comfortable heading into this game," junior pitcher Jamie Falco said. "Weire not overlooking them, we just feel that weire going to be successful. Theyill feel the wrath from last weekend."

The defense has struggled from time to time, but the bats and pitching performances have remained solid. The Cougarsi regular trio of starting pitchers, juniors Falco and Jenny Johnson and freshman Crystal Briscoe, have held opposing hitters to a .187 average -- in other words, murder.

"We have a big advantage over other teams by having three starters," Holas said. "We are the only team in conference to start three different girls a series."

The heart of the lineup has thumped and beaten opponents routinely. Junior catcher Arelis Ferreris (.280, five home runs, 23 RBIs) sophomore third baseman Kristin Glowacz (.345, six HRs, 29 RBIs), sophomore second baseman Jeanie Davis (.326, seven HRs, 23 RBIs) and sophomore designated player/catcher Jenilee Skender (.341, five HRs, 18 RBIs) have put the conference on notice -- pitch at your own peril.

But will the Cougars ever show the glove some love?

"Our defense is not really that much of a concern to me," Ferreris said. "I know we are capable of becoming a good defensive team. I think we are close to getting to the top 25, and our defense will get us there."

Confidence. Check.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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