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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Quirky frosh finds a home

Arizona softball’s hot corner is blowing up.

Third baseman Brigette Del Ponte is having the biggest impact for the Wildcats this season. Her play both in the batters’ box and on the field has proven that she is the most productive freshman in

Division I softball.

“”(I’m) not amazed, I expect it out of myself,”” Del Ponte said. “”I expect more of myself, actually. I need to do better.””

With four grand slams, a team-leading 17 home runs and a nation-leading 58 RBIs, how much better could she do?

Although most infield players are much taller and though she entered the season with her position undefined, Del Ponte has found a home at third base.

By any one else’s standards, Del Ponte’s numbers are remarkable. But not by her own.

“”I need to get base hits,”” she said. “”A base hit each game is my goal. No 0-fors.””

Never satisfied, Del Ponte has elevated her game to a higher standard. Her attitude is keeping her game above average and her head clear at the plate.

The shortest player on the field has a quick glove and an even quicker mouth.

“”She’s a competitor,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”She comes to play.””

It’s the intensity that she brings to the game that keeps her confident in a conference as strong as the Pacific 10. It’s the little things that give her a bubbly swagger.

Her response after Arizona’s 14-2 win over ASU on April 3 speaks for itself.

“”Yeah, we knew we could beat the crap out of ASU, because, yeah, we’re that good,”” said Del Ponte with a smile.

To the talkative third baseman, the usual courtesies to opponents don’t apply. It’s her cocky-but-collected attitude that has kept Del Ponte level-headed throughout the season.

“”I can be shy, but I’m definitely a goofy person when you get to know me,”” Del Ponte said.

“”I’m not that mature,”” she said. “”I’m still a little kid.””

Her teammates, who have described her as an airhead, ascribe the light-spirited Del Ponte’s success to a balance between preparation for and enjoyment of the game.

“”She doesn’t think too much into it,”” said left fielder Brittany Lastrapes. “”She just goes up there and swings the bat.””

The proclaimed lover of Disney movies was prevented from enrolling until January because of her ACT scores. Despite not playing fall ball with the rest of the team, Del Ponte has become an integral part of the infield.

But it’s her mellow demeanor about her late start that has allowed her to catch up with the rest of the team. Once she stepped on the field, it was all business for Del Ponte.

“”I work really hard. I come out before practices and I go to the tee and work on my inside outside,”” Del Ponte said. “”I go and I watch video with Coach a lot to see what I can change to make myself that much better.””

As the Wildcats dive deeper into the Pac-10 season, Del Ponte’s numbers continue to improve. The intensity she brings to the game has only increased as the season goes one.

“”She’s just a freshman, you know?”” Lastrapes said. “”It’s awesome to see her succeed.””

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