Victorino swinging hot bat in May
By Fred Guzman
In many ways, it was a performance that highlighted the things Shane Victorino does best on a baseball field and the area where he probably needs the most improvement.
The Phildelphia center fielder collected a pair of triples last night, showcasing his exceptional speed and ability to hit the ball hard for a man his size.
He also drew three walks in the leadoff spot in the lineup, demonstrating a level of patience at that plate that has largely been missing during his constantly evolving and improving big-league career.
Victorino ended up scoring three runs as the Phillies rallied from two deficits to overpower Colorado 9-5.
Carlos Ruiz also played a key role for the victorious visitors, collecting four hits – including a homer in the sixth and tie-breaking single – as Philly opened up a two-game lead over surprising Washington in the National League East.
So far this month, Victorino is batting .302 with eight of his 13 hits going for extra bases, scoring nine runs and driving in 10.
The teams of Maui’s two other big-leaguer player – Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki and Seattle reliever Kanekoa Texeira – were idle yesterday. Suzuki could come off the 15-day disabled list today versus Cleveland. Texeira pitched two perfect innings in his last outing on Friday, lowering his season ERA to 3.65.
TAUFA A HOOSIER: Milika Taufa, a two-time all-state basketball player for Lahainaluna, has signed a national letter of intent to play for Indiana University next season.
The powerful 6-footer visited the IU campus in Bloomington last week and was sufficiently impressed to reject an offer from LaTech. She also drew interest from Iowa, Northwestern, Eastern Michigan and Mississippi State, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.
Taufa, along with junior point guard Maiki Viela, led the Lunas to the state Division-I title during the past season. She scored 26 points with nine rebounds and five blocks in the title game victory over Konawaena.
PREP SOFTBALL: The Lunas softball team opens its bid in the state D-I softball tournament today, facing Castle in a 3 p.m game at Central Oahu Regional Park. The winner meets third-seeded Waikakea in Wednesday’s 1 p.m. quarterfinal.
MIL champion Baldwin was seeded fourth and drew a first-round bye. The Bears will meet the winner of Punahou vs Kapolei at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
In the D-II tourney, Molokai opens versus Kauai High at 5 o’clock today. Third-seeded Hana faces the winner of Waialua-Kohala at 5 o’clock Wednesday.
The boy’s volleyball D-I and D-II tournaments also are set for this week on Oahu, as is the state track and field meet.