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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball develops sparked intensity

    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

The University of Arizona Softball team mercy kills the Oregon Ducks softball team.
    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona Softball team mercy kills the Oregon Ducks softball team.

    The No. 9 Arizona softball team’s intensity during its weekend series against ASU was a sight to be seen.

    Even after giving up six runs in the sixth inning on Friday to the Sun Devils, Arizona (33-9, 5-2 Pacific 10) clawed back to win the game 10-8 after responding with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning, which snapped ASU’s four-game winning streak against the Wildcats.

    When rain halted the second game, the entire team left the dugout and ran to right field, assisting the ground crew with the tarp.

    When the rain lightened, everyone was out of the dugout again, ready to remove the tarp.

    Much to the disappointment of the crowd and the team, the tarp stayed put. Umpires called the game, resulting in a 2-2 tie in the third inning. The game will be continued April 29 in Tempe, but for Arizona the moment was lost.

    Although Arizona’s momentum did not manifest itself in that game, it sparked something in the team.

    It wasn’t just a rivalry series; something was different about the team, their demeanor and especially their desire to play.

    “”If we keep bringing the intensity that we brought to ASU to every game now, I think we’re going to be unstoppable”” UA third baseman Jenae Leles said.

    Arizona’s win over the Sun Devils (43-8, 4-3) showed that it could still compete with the nation’s best. Now sitting atop the Pac-10, Arizona wants to take the approach that worked so well against ASU and apply it to every team in the conference.

    The team certainly is anxious to get back on the field, especially for this weekend’s series against No. 2 Stanford and No. 14 California. The energy left over from the series against the Sun Devils has the Wildcats ready to take the field again, this time with hopes of completing all their games and tallying a sweep.

    “”I think we’re excited for this weekend,”” catcher Stacie Chambers said. “”We’re running off of energy from last weekend.””

    The level of play that the team achieved in the ASU series is what UA head coach Mike Candrea has been looking for all season. From the very beginning, the entire coaching staff has been looking for the level of play that has become synonymous with Arizona softball.

    “”I liked the approach we had coming into ASU,”” Candrea said. “”We fought harder. I think they were more in the moment that weekend. That’s what you need to do every time no matter who you’re playing.””

    For the Wildcats, it starts in practice.

    Preparation for the weekend’s games begins on Tuesday when Arizona returns to Hillenbrand Stadium to work on drills, study pitches and hit their location in the bullpen.

    “”If we don’t have a good week of practice, then it’s really going to be an off weekend,”” shortstop K’lee Arredondo said.

    The Wildcats’ concentration was apparent over the weekend, as the team seems to have finally found the extra effort and motivation.

    Candrea has emphasized a sense of urgency for Arizona and with the season winding down, each game has implications on the Wildcats’ playoff hopes.

    “”He pretty much said it’s now or never. If we don’t do it now, we’re not going to find ourselves in a post-season spot and that’s only four weeks away,”” Arredondo said. “”It’s a sense of urgency.””

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