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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball splits with Canada

    Arizona left fielder Brittany Lastrapes rounds third base after smacking a three-run homer in the first of two games against Team Canada at Hillenbrand Stadium last night. The Wildcats won the series opener 8-5 but dropped the nightcap 6-4.
    Arizona left fielder Brittany Lastrapes rounds third base after smacking a three-run homer in the first of two games against Team Canada at Hillenbrand Stadium last night. The Wildcats won the series opener 8-5 but dropped the nightcap 6-4.

    The No. 10 Arizona softball team fared much better against Team Canada than Team USA as it split a two-game exhibition series at Hillenbrand Stadium last night.

    After beating one of the top eight teams in the world 8-5 in the series opener and falling 6-4 in the nightcap, Arizona (6-5) gained confidence heading into this weekend’s Hillenbrand Invitational.

    “”I told the team I was very pleased with our effort in the first game and then in the second game we looked like an eight and under team,”” said Arizona interim head coach Larry Ray. “”(We made a lot of) uncharacteristic mistakes and a lot of those things can be fixed. It’s just we’ve got to take the game a little more seriously.””

    Arizona took off in the first game after Team Canada jumped ahead of the Wildcats 1-0 in the first inning. The Canadians drew three walks from Arizona pitcher Taryne Mowatt after a leadoff double by right fielder Melanie Matthews, but Arizona roared back in the bottom half of the inning via the long ball.

    First baseman Sam Banister crushed the first pitch she saw over the left-center field wall after left fielder Brittany Lastrapes was plunked by Canadian pitcher Dione Meier to give Arizona a 2-1 lead it never relinquished.

    Two batters later, designated player Stacie Chambers followed suit with a two-run homer of her own as she walloped a 3-2 offering deep to right-center field, a moon shot that almost hit
    the scoreboard.

    Arizona added one more run in the fourth inning and three insurance runs in the fifth off a Lastrapes three-run homer to make the score 8-3 in favor of the Wildcats.

    “”I was seeing (the ball) really, really well in the first game,”” Lastrapes said. “”I was just really confident. I just knew she couldn’t get me out, so that helped a lot.””

    Arizona bashed its fourth home run of the series as shortstop K’Lee Arredondo crushed a three-run homer in the third inning of the second contest. Arizona scored 10 of its 12 runs via the long ball, something far different from the run-manufacturing team of last year.

    “”I knew we’d

    I told the team I was very pleased with our effort in the first game and then in the second game we looked like an eight and under team.

    – Larry Ray,
    interim head coach

    have a few more long balls, and we will,”” Ray said. “”We’ve got some kids who can swing it one through nine, but the thing that’s tough is manufacturing runs. We get down by two and we need to steal a base, we don’t have that right now, which is ok.””

    In addition to the barrage of home runs, Arizona was also able to get some of its young pitchers for some much needed experience against top-flight competition.

    Sophomore Sarah Akamine earned the win in the first game by pitching the last four innings after relieving Mowatt.

    Freshman Lindsey Sisk pitched against her second Olympic team (she relieved Mowatt for 1.2 innings against Team USA) as she started for the second game. Sisk pitched five innings and only allowed three earned runs while with Akamine closing the game with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

    “”I need a lot more experience. Believe me, last year was a long time ago,”” Akamine said. “”But (pitching against Team Canada) was really fun though. I was nervous at first but then I was like, ‘I’ve got nothing to lose.'””

    The Wildcats committed five errors in the two games against Team Canada. Arredondo made three errors – two throwing, one fielding – and third baseman Jenae Leles had a throwing error of her own. Freshman Lauren Schutzler also dropped a fly ball in center field in the second game.

    “”It’s all between the ears,”” Ray said. “”It’s just that we have to have a little bit better mental approach to the game. We’re not a good enough to team to give up four runs to a pretty decent team. A lot of it is they just have to do some soul searching and make sure that they’re ready every pitch.””

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