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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Trio of Bat ‘Cats look to lead from the infield

File+Photo+%2F+The+Daily+WildcatArizona+baseball+infielder+Scott++Kingery+makes+contact+during+Arizonas+6-5+victory+over+UCLA+on+April+13++at+Hi+Corbett+Field.+Kingery+is+among+a+trio+of+infielders+who+are++expected+to+take+up+a+bulk+of+the+offensive+responsibility+this+season.

File Photo / The Daily Wildcat

Arizona baseball infielder Scott Kingery makes contact during Arizona’s 6-5 victory over UCLA on April 13 at Hi Corbett Field. Kingery is among a trio of infielders who are expected to take up a bulk of the offensive responsibility this season.

A new season means new changes for a team that finished with just nine conference wins last year. 

After finishing last season with a 22-33 overall record, the Arizona baseball team is looking to make changes that will help it vie for a better season.

Former second baseman Trent Gilbert was selected in last year’s draft, but second base is now covered by Scott Kingery, who played center field last season. Kingery spent the past summer playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League, where he made the transition from the outfield to second base.

According to Arizona head coach Andy Lopez, with Kingery at second, this year’s infield should be one of Arizona’s strengths.

“I’ve been very pleased with [Kingery], and I think he’s done a marvelous job,” Lopez said. “He looks really comfortable as a second baseman.”

Kingery was originally an infielder before college, and he said going back to the infield has not been a difficult transition for him.

“I am a lot more comfortable there right now than I was at the beginning of the year,” Kingery said. “I think it’s really going to help us up in the middle, and we are going to get more range up there and more speed.”

With second base filled in, the shortstop and third base positions are set as well. Players who also spent their summers on the Cape will take care of two more infield positions.

Kevin Newman will be at shortstop, Bobby Dalbec will be at third and first base is still up for grabs.
“There will be some competition going on in first base, but I think it will settle itself out,” Lopez said.

The three infielders are keys offensively, as they all finished in the top-five batting averages last season for Arizona.

“Offensively, I think we’re top in the country,” Newman said. “Bobby Dalbec is probably one of the best hitters I’ve played with, Kingery’s last year speaks for itself and I expect some good things out of myself. Whoever ends up in first base, I think they will contribute, too.”

Newman led the Cape Cod Baseball League in hitting for two years in a row, something that has never been done in the history of the league. Kingery finished with a .312 batting average for the Brewster Whitecaps, and Dalbec led the Orleans Firebirds with five home runs.

“Having us all in the lineup could definitely be a good thing for us,” Kingery said.

Production is something the team will be looking for, Newman said, who is one of the players Lopez considers to be the leaders this season.

With less than two weeks before the season opener, the battle for first base will continue until game time on Feb. 13.

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Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela on Twitter.

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