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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Senior Banks keeps her team tough

One of Arizona’s most important softball figures is not an All-American, like junior pitcher Kenzie Fowler or fellow junior Brigette Del Ponte. She’s not a coach like head coach Mike Candrea, winner of eight NCAA national championships during his time in Tucson.

In fact, she’s not even a full-time starter, starting only six games in her three years on the team.

Senior and Sierra Vista native Alicia Banks is a player who doesn’t get a lot of playing time, but she is still a major contributor to the team. Banks is a power hitter and defensive machine, tallying a career-high 11 putouts at first base against Pima last weekend. But she insists that her biggest asset is her mindset.

“I try to be mentally tough for the team,” she said. “Everyone has their struggles, I just try not to show mine to keep everyone else mentally strong.”

Banks and the Wildcats will host this weekend’s Arizona Fall Classic tournament at Hillenbrand Stadium, where the UA will play Phoenix College, New Mexico, Cypress College and Pima College today through Sunday. Despite not cracking the starting lineup permanently, she insists it’s not going to mess with her game, or be a distraction for the team.

“Everyone wants to start, and everyone has their role,” Banks said. “If my role is not to start, I’m not going to pout about it.”

Coaches Candrea and Larry Ray are both excited to have Banks as a part of the team, and agree that her positivity and attitude are both strong assets to this year’s squad.

“She’s got a great attitude,” Ray said. “She’s a player that doesn’t get on the field a whole lot, but that doesn’t seem to deter her from cheering people on and wanting everyone to do well.”

Added Candrea: “She’s a real team player, a really caring young lady that has done a great job at accepting her role, and has done it with a smile on her face every day. To me, that’s important.”

Banks will have another opportunity this weekend to use her skills and positivity to help the team, when they start the Arizona Fall Classic. Even though she will not start, the tournament is still a big one to her.

“I’m from Sierra Vista, which is basically a suburb of Tucson, so it’s always good to play in front of a home crowd,” she said. “It always makes things more exciting.”

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