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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Junior third baseman taking leadership role for Arizona softball

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Softball vs Sandiego

Arizona native Brigette Del Ponte spends more time on the third base corner of the softball field than anywhere else. After having developed into one of the most valuable gloves on the team, Del Ponte is taking on the Pac-12 Conference as a junior.

“Coach keeps me disciplined and on the right track and in the right mindset,” Del Ponte said. “When my swing goes bad, I need him to tell me what to do to change it.”

Del Ponte has the third base line on lockdown and is the most prolific hitter on the team with more career extra base-hits (67) than singles (52). In her two-plus seasons in Arizona, Del Ponte is No. 12 all-time with 47 home runs.

“It’s about getting excited for games and being in the right place emotionally,” Del Ponte said. “It’s the upperclassmen’s job to bring back that enthusiasm.”

Standing 5-feet-3-inches tall, Del Ponte is the shortest member of the team but is a core player on both defense and offense. She set Arizona records for home runs (21) and RBIs (80) by a freshman, and will likely be in the running for all-time records by the time she graduates.

With a handful of freshmen filling in the lineup this season, Del Ponte has slipped into a leadership role and taken it to the plate.

Del Ponte has learned to lead by encouraging the lineup to do its homework on opposing hitters for defense and approach the plate with a plan to battle the pitcher.

“I mean, it’s pressure, but it’s nothing I cant handle,” Del Ponte said. “I’m glad my teammates are there to pick me up when I need it.”

She has started every game since setting foot in Hillenbrand Stadium and shows no signs of slowing down. Candrea said Del Ponte takes on the responsibility of carrying the team at times, even though it can be nearly impossible for one player to do that.

“We just have to have fun out there and keep the energy up,” Del Ponte said.

Despite a relatively quiet weekend for Del Ponte in Arizona’s series win over Washington, she remained active and did her job — playing solid defense and putting together good at-bats.

“If there’s less than two outs then I’m going to get that girl out at second. I know I have to do whatever it takes to get her out because I don’t want her beating me at third,” Del Ponte said.

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