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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball returns to the diamond

Tim Glass  / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA softball team plays an exhibition game against Yavapai College, October 3, 2010. (Photo by Tim Glass)
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA softball team plays an exhibition game against Yavapai College, October 3, 2010. (Photo by Tim Glass)

The Arizona softball team hit the field for the first time yesterday after its loss last season to UCLA in the Women’s College World Series finals, beating Yavapai College 9-4 in a exhibition game at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Senior catcher Stacie Chambers came to the plate with confidence, hitting Arizona’s only home run of the game in the first inning with two runners on base, giving the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.

“”We played like we always play,”” Chambers said. “”We came out hard with a lot of intensity.””

Despite facing a 4-2 deficit in the fifth inning, the Roughriders weren’t going to go down without a fight. They tied the game on a two-run home run.

Yavapai’s lead was short lived. In the bottom of the fifth, Chambers ripped a hard ground ball down the first base line that got by the Yavapai first baseman. Senior center fielder Lauren Schutzler scored from second on the error to regain the lead at 5-4.

To seal the win, sophomore Becca Tikey tripled to drive in a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, making the score 6-4.

The offensive explosion was necessary for Arizona since its pitching had an inconsistent start. Freshman Shelby Babcock pitched the first four innings and couldn’t seem to find the strike zone, walking six batters in the first three innings.

Despite her struggles, though, fellow pitcher and team ace Kenzie Fowler isn’t concerned and offered advice and encouragement for Babcock.

“”Shelby is a great addition to the team, she’s going to help us out a lot,”” Fowler said. “”She was nervous today, but I told her I was nervous this time last year, and we look back and these games don’t matter, and it is what you make of it.””

Fowler came in at the top of the fifth and pitched the rest of the game. Head coach Mike Candrea didn’t start Fowler in an effort to save her arm and sharpen her new pitching style, which was formed as a result of her illegal pitch tendencies last season.

“”I’ve changed my pitching a lot,”” Fowler said. “”My wind-up is a lot different and all my pitches are different. There was an illegal pitch issue I had to address from last year and more efficient mechanics.””  

Candrea also talked about her transformation. First and foremost, he wants to “”make her legal,”” Candrea said. “”Keep her foot down and being more legal. We want her around for awhile, we want to keep her healthy.””

All things considered, Candrea kept a realistic outlook on the state of his team so far.

“”We’ve been practicing for two weeks … we’re not game ready and it was quite apparent today,”” Candrea said. Despite the rusty start, Candrea’s high expectations remain untouched.

“”We always have high expectations, it’s a part of playing here,”” said Candrea. “”We all have one goal in mind, and I think everyone knows what that goal is.””

 

National pro fast-pitch All-Stars

Tonight Arizona will host the National Pro Fastpitch All-Stars at 6 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Arizona softball legend Jennie Finch and the rest of the team will challenge the Wildcats in an exhibition game that Candrea is extremely excited about.

“”For us, it’s a great opportunity for all of our young kids and everyone to get a chance to play a quality team,”” Candrea said. “”I’m excited to have Jennie back in town.””

In addition to Finch, former Wildcats Chelsie Mesa, Mackenzie Vandergeest and Taryne Mowatt are expected

to appear.

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