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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Who leads the Wildcats?

Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat Wilbur photoessay

Arizona’s softball team has eight starters returning from last year’s national championship runner-up. The only departure is shortstop K’Lee Arredondo, who earned second team All-Pacific 10 Conference honors last year. More importantly, Arredondo was also the vocal leader of the team, something that head coach Mike Candrea says the team now lacks.

Here are the top three candidates that will contribute leadership when the Wildcats open up Pac-10 play on Friday.

Brittany Lastrapes

Unquestionably a leading contender for this position, Brittany Lastrapes has an impressive array of credentials. She is one of the best players on the team, and, as a senior, commands the respect of her teammates. After playing with Arredondo for three years, Lastrapes may have picked up a trick or two from the departed shortstop along the way. However, there is a flaw in Lastrapes’ candidacy: her position. She plays all the way out in left field, which is not prime territory for shouting instruction and encouragement to her teammates, some of whom play almost 200 feet away from her post.

Stacie Chambers

Stacie Chambers is — among other things — the most senior member of the team. As a redshirt senior, Chambers is in her fifth year at the University of Arizona. It’s said that one should always respect their elders, and in the context of the Arizona softball team, the 23-year-old Chambers is just that. She is also a catcher, which carries with it good and bad features in this context. She plays in the infield, which is a good thing when looking for a leader in softball. However, the catcher deals mostly with the pitcher and seldom has much interaction with the rest of the infield in the normal flow of the game.

Kenzie Fowler

The lone underclassman on this list, Kenzie Fowler is a candidate based mostly on her performance. She is arguably the team’s best player, and with a 1.79 ERA she has been outstanding this season, and Candrea does not see seniority as a prerequisite for leadership. “”I don’t think it’s always got to be a senior,”” he says. “”I think that this is a team that can be lead by many different people and I think too many times, well, the seniors have to be the leaders. Well, that’s not necessarily true.”” At pitcher, Fowler also occupies a central position on the field. Unfortunately, the downside of Fowler’s position is that she is often relegated to the dugout or worse, the bullpen, where she has almost no contact with the rest of the team.

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