The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

60° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Not ready for the spotlight

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA softball team hosted the National All-Stars at Hillenbrand Stadium Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, in Tucson, Ariz. Several former Wildcat players including Jennie Finch and Chelsea Mesa took the field in a 9-0 UA loss.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA softball team hosted the National All-Stars at Hillenbrand Stadium Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, in Tucson, Ariz. Several former Wildcat players including Jennie Finch and Chelsea Mesa took the field in a 9-0 UA loss.

If having a winning attitude was the only measure of success, the Arizona Wildcats wouldn’t be among the top teams in college softball. At least, not according to head coach Mike Candrea.

“”Sometimes we don’t play like we’re 14-2,”” he said. “”Sometimes we play the game like we’re 2-14.””

Arizona, with a No. 1 preseason ranking and a strong core of returning players, looked poised to battle confidently through pre-conference season before reaching the toughest league schedule in the nation, the Pacific 10 Conference.

Three weeks into the season, Candrea had some lingering questions about the Wildcats’ consistency.

Although the weekend saw four out of five wins for the Wildcats, Candrea said he saw some questionable play in Palm Springs, Calif., this weekend.

“”We had a little timely hitting, but not enough,”” Candrea said. “”We weren’t able to sustain our energy.

“”That kind of concerns me a little bit. We need a lot more consistency and passion to play at this high level.””

The Wildcats picked up a 4-1 win on Friday against Louisiana State University, but it wasn’t what Candrea said he considered “”dominant.”” Sophomore pitcher Kenzie Fowler had to work out of three bases-loaded situations throughout the game, and the Arizona batters were only able to record three hits.

Candrea said he is currently searching for a viable eight-hole hitter to help solidify the bottom of the lineup and drive in runs to give the Wildcats the opportunity to put games away early in the contest.

Arizona repeated its lackluster offense against Georgia on Saturday, again recording three hits, but seeing different results. The Bulldogs handed Arizona its third run-rule loss of the year, 8-0 in five innings on Saturday.

Fowler suffered from flu-like symptoms and freshman pitcher Shelby Babcock was forced to enter the game after just one inning. Babcock, who was touted as Fowler’s reliable back up, hasn’t been able to answer the call against top-rank teams so far this season. According to Candrea, Babcock’s downfall begins with her inability to find the strike zone early in the count.

“”I don’t think she has enough command right now,”” Candrea said. “”She tends to shoot herself in the foot.””

At 14-2, the Wildcats are still among the top teams in the nation, but the way the games are being played is what’s concerning, Candrea said.

Against Loyola Marymount University, the Wildcats had the opportunity to cash in when they loaded the bases in the second inning via a walk, hit and error. Three straight outs, however, ended their threat.

The game ended with a 6-0 win for Arizona, but the lack of capitalizing on opportunities is something Candrea said he knows the Wildcats will need if they hope to go far this season.

“”We’re still a long ways away from playing the game we need to be competitive in the Pac-10 and later on down the road,”” Candrea said.

For now, Candrea said his team needs to find its identity. With exactly one month remaining until the Wildcats open Pac-10 play at Stanford, Arizona is trying to match winning with playing with a winning attitude every game.

“”(It’s) a lack of I don’t know. (I’m) trying to put my finger on it right now,”” Candrea said. “”We have a lot of growing to do in all facets of the game.””

 

Chambers watch

Catcher Stacie Chambers hit home runs in Arizona’s wins against Loyola Marymount and Virginia. The long ball against the Lions was her third grand slam of the season. She leads the Wildcats with eight jacks on the year and is just 11 shy of the Arizona record and 16 shy of the NCAA record.

More to Discover
Activate Search