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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Lastrapes filling void left by former ‘Cat Lowe

    Arizona freshman left fielder Brittany Lastrapes swings away during the Wildcats 8-5 victory over the Canadian National Team on Feb. 27 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Lastrapes became an immediate contributor for the No. 7 Wildcats, hitting .333 with two home runs, 10 RBIs and three stolen bases in 15 games thus far.
    Arizona freshman left fielder Brittany Lastrapes swings away during the Wildcats’ 8-5 victory over the Canadian National Team on Feb. 27 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Lastrapes became an immediate contributor for the No. 7 Wildcats, hitting .333 with two home runs, 10 RBIs and three stolen bases in 15 games thus far.

    Arizona freshman left fielder Brittany Lastrapes stepped up big for the No. 7 Arizona softball team in its 4-3, 12-inning win over then-No. 24 Virginia Tech in last weekend’s Hillenbrand Invitational.

    The freshman had a two-out base knock – her only hit of the game – to drive in the winning run for the Wildcats, perhaps one of Arizona’s biggest victories of the year.

    When asked what the game-winning hit meant to her, Lastrapes responded, “”I feel like I let my team down sometimes, and 1-for-6 with four strikeouts isn’t what I need to do to help my team out.””

    But Lastrapes had the big hit when it counted in that particular game and in various other pressure situations throughout the season. In all actuality, she has done the exact opposite of letting her team down.

    “”Lastrapes is doing an excellent job. She has just been tremendous,”” said UA interim head coach Larry Ray. “”Any time she leads off a game on base, it is mission accomplished. The team has been able to bring her around, and that is exactly what we want, regardless of how she does it.””

    Now Lastrapes is currently holding down the leadoff position for the Wildcats, as she looks to continue her consistency for Arizona in tonight’s meeting with Creighton at 7 to open up the Wildcat Invitational.

    With one of the best leadoff hitter in Arizona history departing after her senior season last year in Caitlin Lowe, not only is Lastrapes trying to fill a void in the outfield, she is also attempting to match the same reliability at the top of the Wildcats’ batting order.

    With a .333 batting average, 10 RBIs and some pop in her bat with two home runs, Lastrapes has made the post-Lowe transition much easier than previously expected.

    “”Her biggest thing is she brings so much confidence into the game,”” said senior outfielder Adrienne Acton. “”It is extremely hard (to hit over .300 as a freshman). You don’t really know the game as well as the players that have been here.””

    Lastrapes may have been unfamiliar with the Division I level heading into the season, but superior play from the world’s best softball players was something she was quite accustomed to.

    The freshman spent her summer playing on the U.S. Softball Junior Women’s team, which captured the gold medal with a 3-1 victory over Japan, and was named the MVP of the International Softball Federation Junior Women’s World Championships in the Netherlands.

    Such an accomplishment earned her an invite to the U.S. Olympic tryouts, where she worked out with the members of the three-time defending gold medalist team.

    Lastrapes said she had the mindset that nobody was expecting her to do well, so she relaxed and took it one drill at a time. And it worked. She tallied hits off virtually every pitcher trying out, including Olympic pitching legend Lisa Fernandez.

    “”I was going to turn (the invitation to tryout for Team USA) down at first because it felt like I didn’t deserve to be there, but it was too good of an opportunity to turn down,”” said

    Lastrapes, who was the youngest player at the tryout at 17. “”I went in there thinking I was going to strike out every time and that I didn’t belong there, but I ended up doing pretty good.””

    As it turned out, Lastrapes doesn’t have a cockiness issue. In fact, she is rather hard on herself.

    Nevertheless, it seems to be working for the freshman that brings invaluable assets to an Arizona squad still trying to find itself on a daily basis.

    “”She has kind of taken the sting out a little bit of losing Caitlin Lowe,”” Ray said. “”She is getting on base to start off games and scoring runs, and that is exactly what we need from that spot.””


    IF YOU GO

    WHAT:
    No. 7 Arizona softball vs. Creighton

    WHERE:
    Hillenbrand Stadium

    WHEN:
    Tonight at 7

    QUOTABLE:
    “”Right now I feel pretty good, especially after last weekend. It is hard to say (where Creighton is at competition-wise) because all I have seen was they took ASU to the 10th inning. We are just going to go out and do what we do and see how we play weekend to weekend.””

    – interim head coach Larry Ray


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