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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball’s Lavine makes major switch from right to left hand

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Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat

After about 14 years of batting and throwing right handed, Arizona softball player Alex Lavine has made the switch to to the left side.

Lavine, a junior utility, was Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention in 2011 but suffered a sophomore slump at the plate in 2012.

“My righty wasn’t really working, and [the switch is] just something that is best for the team and best for me,” Lavine said.

“So I’m fast and I became a slapper.”

In 2011 she started 44 games at short stop, but last season she only started four in right field.

“We were looking at some more opportunities for her offensively to utilize her speed,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “She’s a good base runner.”

On Sunday against Pima, Lavine went 3-3 and scored two runs.

“It’s pretty different,” Lavine said. “I was ambidextrous when I was younger, so it’s a little easier for me, but not much.”

Lavine throws right-handed, but writes with her left. At six years old, Lavine changed from switch hitter and switch thrower to full-time righty in both disciplines.

Lavine is not only switching from righty to lefty, she is also going from the stationary batting stance to slap hitting, running toward first as she swings.

“It’s been pretty difficult,” Lavine said. “It’s hard to go from the hitting aspect to the slapping aspect and just trying to hit everything into the ground, but I’ve enjoyed it. I can do a lot more now so I like it a lot better.”

Candrea said it is rare for a junior in college to switch, but Lavine isn’t worried.

“I had a few people try to talk me out of it and tell me that it was too late, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Lavine said, “but I just really pushed myself to go out and get better every day and get better with my slapping and I just want to help contribute to the team.”

Lavine made the switch in June, working with her dad and sister on it. Candrea thinks she can succeed.

“From the right side she wasn’t a bad hitter, but I just think that we weren’t able to utilize her speed as much,” Candrea said.

“So we figure right now if we can get her to put the ball on the ground and utilize her speed, we may be able to buy some more base hits for her.”

Lavine went 2-2 against Yavapai in Arizona’s second fall season game and she led the team in batting average on the first day of fall ball, hitting .667.

Candrea has been impressed with her other switch, to the outfield.

“Defensively, right now, I’m really pleased with her,” Candrea said. “I think she has really developed into a really solid outfielder and gets good jumps on the ball.”

Lavine played in 41 games in 2012, coming in 36 times as a defensive replacement. She started four games in right field and she batted .125 in 24 at bats.

“I just don’t think I had the confidence that I had my freshman year and that’s definitely changed now that I’m a lefty,” Lavine said. “I really just want to get on base and I have so much more confidence because I can do so much now.”

She did however hit a two out, two strike three run game tying home run in the bottom of the seventh inning against San Diego State on Mar. 28 for a five run comeback. The Wildcats went on to win in extra innings.

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