BYU's Lei pounding softball pitchers | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

BYU's Lei pounding softball pitchers

To read more at Honolulu Advertiser, click here

Softball player Ianeta Lei admits that she has become a heavy hitter in her freshman year at Brigham Young University.

Asked if she had gained the legendary "freshman 15" pounds, the good-natured Lei answered, "More like the freshman 50. It's distressing. I've gained 40 pounds since I've been in Provo (Utah)."

But Lei plans to trim the excess weight. "I will work on that during the summer," she promised.

There is no such remedy for pitchers in the Mountain West Conference and environs, who have been fed a steady diet of line drives and long shots from the former three-time first-team All-State player for Iolani.

In four games last week, Lei hit a grand slam and two solo home runs as BYU tuned up for the conference tournament starting tomorrow in San Diego, improving its record to a school-best 33-15.

Lei has a conference-high current hitting streak of 11 games, a .365 batting average (50-for-137) and 36 RBIs in 48 games.

"She has reconstructed the left-field fences at several fields with her line drives," coach Gordon Eakin said yesterday.

"She thinks the game well and has learned to make adjustments. As the pitchers think they have figured her out and throw to a weakness, it isn't a weakness any more.

"For example, she goes the other way (hits to right field) very well. So on Saturday, they threw her inside and she hit a 350-shot down the left-field line and out before anybody could blink."

Said Lei: "Everything is coming together, I guess. I'm trying to be more relaxed and stop stressing."

Lei has had nine multiple RBI games, has hit seven home runs and has a slugging average of .577.

"It's fun, but I'm ready to come home next month for the summer." She said she got three A's, two B's and two C's in her first college semester.

Eakin tried Lei at several positions, but she is primarily a first baseman now.

BYU's other all-state freshman from Hawai'i, Baldwin alum Ashlyn Russell has started all but two games, usually at third base, despite a knee that is in constant pain, Eakin said. "She is playing through it," and batting .272 (37-for-136) with six home runs and 27 RBIs.