Saturday is the ten year anniversary of one of the great moments in University of Hawaii softball history. May 30th 2010 was when Jenna Rodriguez hit a walk off home run to send the Bows to the college World Series.
“When I now rewatch the video, it definitely gave me the chills and the goosebumps,” said Rodriguez via Zoom.
That two run home run, down by one, with two outs in the bottom of the last inning against Alabama – the top ranked team in the country was career defining, and program defining for Hawaii.
“I think it was right when I reached home plate and celebrated with the team,” said Rodriguez. “I mean we obviously celebrated a lot of home runs. We broke some records. And it was just that point of being in this huge pile of celebration. It was like no other celebration we’ve had.”
The super regional win sent Hawaii to its first and only College World Series.
“Simply amazing. This is the best day of my life,” that was the phrase longtime Hawaii softball head coach Bob Coolen uttered immediately following that historic game – with some good-natured regret.
“It’s amazing because I made the mistake of saying this is the best moment of my life,” Coolen said via Facetime. “Then everyone reminded me, what about getting married? What about your first child? What about your second child? So I had to rephrase it, saying this is the best moment in my professional life. So I had a lot of people telling me what to say that was proper. But your just caught up in the moment.”
Though they just won one game in the college World Series, UH earned a program-high 50 wins that season, including going 19-1 in the WAC. Along the way, racking in eight team hitting records, including hits, RBI’s, and home runs.
“Being able to be on a team like that, that performs, and is able to hit home runs, and being able get several at bats because everyone in the lineup was great, had great batting average, whether you hit a home run or not, it just created this atmosphere where it was fun. Whether you were off that day or not, you knew you had someone behind you to be able to pick you back up. And that’s what brought the confidence around the entire team,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is now living in her home state of California, and recently had to delay wedding plans because of the pandemic. The 2010 team gathered via Zoom this weekend to reminisce on one of the best days of all their lives.