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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Young Wildcats fall to alumnae

    Former Arizona softball player Lovie Jung celebrates after hitting a first-inning home run during the softball alumnae game on Saturday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium. The alumnae team beat this years Wildcat team 4-1 in five innings.
    Former Arizona softball player Lovie Jung celebrates after hitting a first-inning home run during the softball alumnae game on Saturday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium. The alumnae team beat this year’s Wildcat team 4-1 in five innings.

    Led by former Olympians Alicia Hollowell and Lovie Jung, the alumnae topped the current Wildcat team 4-1 on Saturday, reminding the young squad about the tradition of Arizona softball.

    Admittedly, Jung had not picked up a ball since the end of her Olympic campaign at the end of August, but on her first at bat to lead the game at Hillenbrand Stadium, she hit a Lindsey Sisk pitch over the left-center field wall for a solo home run.

    Sophomore Brittany Lastrapes tried to answer with a double off Hollowell in the bottom of the first inning. She advanced to third base, but the alumnae defense held, leaving the first inning leading by one. After hitting another double in the third inning, Lastrapes was humbled just to connect with yet another Hollowell pitch.

    “”It’s kind of baffling,”” Lastrapes said. “”She’s always been so good for so long, and it’s just crazy to think I can hit (off) her.””

    Jackie Coburn, from the Wildcat class of 2005, followed up Jung’s home run with one of her own in the second inning.

    The Wildcats again regrouped and gave the fans a glimpse of their potential. Senior Sam Banister got hold of a ball and sent it off the glove of an alumna outfielder, advancing to second base. Pinch runner Karissa Buchanan stole third base and then scored on a K’Lee Arredondo sacrifice fly, cutting the lead in half, to 2-1.

    The alumnae scored again when Erika Hanson-Barnes hit a double, allowing a pinch runner for Brandi Shriver to score from first base.

    Sisk got in a jam during the fifth and final inning when the alumnae had the bases loaded with no outs.

    With another Olympian in Caitlin Lowe at bat and the odds stacked against her, Sisk managed to allow just one run off a Lowe sacrifice fly. Sisk finished the inning strongly by striking out Jung.

    The competitiveness of the current Wildcats contrasted with the attitude in the alumnae dugout. Former players cheered wildly for their teammates and posed for pictures in the middle of play.

    Some young fans even visited the press box, requesting the announcer to play a “”High School Musical”” song on behalf of alumna Coburn. The announcer, however, did not have the soundtrack available.

    “”It’s awesome we have this turnout for an alumni game,”” Hollowell said. “”Everyone loves coming back. It’s a family. That’s why I love it. That’s why I came here.””

    The goal in the home dugout was to learn from the greats that came before them.

    “”It’s really the foundation of this program; it’s the tradition that we’ve built,”” said head coach Mike Candrea. “”I think it’s great for our kids to have the opportunity to see some of the faces and names that they hear about all the time.””

    Having an Olympian available for advice never hurts. While only a sophomore, Sisk’s learning curve has been helped by seeking advice from a former pitcher.

    “”I talked to her last year quite a bit,”” Sisk said of Hollowell. “”She helped me a lot on what I need to expect on big games. She helped me a lot on my drop ball.””

    The young Wildcats already have a winning attitude embedded into their philosophy.

    “”I don’t like to get home runs hit off me, no matter who it is,”” said Sisk, citing the Jung home run. “”We just have a lot of work to do. We’re working very hard in practice, and just trying to execute.””

    Candrea said the building of the team is a process. The importance of the alumnae game lies in his teaching methods – ones that bring past traditions to the present.

    “”We’re basically keepers of the house,”” Candrea said. “”We built the house and they’re the keepers of it, and the young kids that come in have to keep the house the way it’s been for many years.””

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