Millie Fidge started Sunday’s game pitching in the circle at Rainbow Wāhine Softball Stadium and ended it being mobbed at home plate by her teammates after hitting her first career home run to cap the University of Hawaiʻi softball team’s 8-0 run-rule win over Niagara in five innings.
“It was pretty hot today, so it was a bit of a struggle,” Fidge said. “I wasn’t too confident on the mound but I had a good team behind me to back me up. Getting the opportunity to bat as well just made the day a whole lot better.”
Fidge (2-1) threw a complete game shutout, allowing only two hits with five strikeouts and three walks. At the plate, she went 2-for-2 with two runs batted in — including her walk-off solo home run in the fifth inning, becoming the first Rainbow Wāhine to earn a win in the circle as a pitcher and hit a home run in the same game since Kanani ʻĀina Cabrales did so against Portland State in 2016.
“I listened to Coach Lans (assistant coach Kaulana Gould) and she said Millie has been hitting the ball really well,” UH coach Bob Coolen said. “We’ve been working on her different rhythm in the box rather than being a rotational back leg hitter. We wanted her to go after the ball and she hit the ball hard today.”
UH (13-6) as a team scored early, racking up five runs in the first inning over ten Rainbow Wāhine plate appearances. Niagara starter Maddie Hickingbottom (1-3) was removed from the game in the first inning after walking four UH batters and giving up five runs (one earned).
“I was concerned that we were going to come out a little slow because (we’ve) been watching the teams play Niagara and noticing that they really haven’t been scoring a lot of runs,” Coolen said. “I thought we were going to come out slow but they changed my mind right away when we got those five.”
“I just wanted to get the eight and five — eight run rule after five innings — let’s get it done.”
The Rainbow Wāhine added their sixth run of the game in the bottom of the second inning on Izabella Martinez’s sacrifice fly and Haley Johnson’s base hit in the fourth drove in Xiao Gin to make it 7-0 UH.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Fidge hit a 2-1 pitch over the left-center field wall to end the game via the run rule.
“I was focusing on getting a safe hit to get a runner on base but I guess I got a little too much of the ball,” Fidge said with a smile.
“That was amazing to do that for my team, it’s such an honor. Very exciting moment for me, [it] doesn’t happen too often that I get to bat.”
The Rainbow Wāhine wrap up the Hawai‘i Spring Fling on Monday against Utah at 4 p.m. HST.