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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Family weekend: Rodriguez sisters bring competitive edge to Arizona softball

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Tyler Besh
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Kelsey and Courtney Rodriguez are sisters who have played softball together for most of their lives.

After two years apart, they are now reunited as teammates on the Arizona softball team. The last time the Rodriguez sisters played together, they won back-to-back softball championships in 2009 and 2010 with their high school team in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Kelsey Rodriguez, who is two years older, elected to move away from home to attend and play softball at Pacific University while Courtney finished high school, but decided to transfer to the UA when Courtney came to Tucson.

“Kelsey is a kid that brings a real good talent level to this team and great leadership,” head coach Mike Candrea said.

As a catcher for two seasons at Pacific University, Kelsey Rodriguez tacked on the accolades, earning Big West Freshman Player of the Year in 2011, first-team all-conference in two seasons with the Tigers and 2011 second-team NFCA All-Pacific Region and Big West Player of the Week for the week of May 9, 2011.

Kelsey Rodriguez had 58 runs scored, 14 doubles and seven home runs in her two years at Pacific University. She also led Pacific with a .381 batting average as a freshman, which was the seventh highest batting average in Pacific’s history, and third best for a freshman.

The Rodriguez sisters elected to attend Arizona because of the program’s rich winning tradition — the fact they would be teammates again was just icing on the cake.

According to Courtney Rodriguez, their family was very excited to see them playing together again and attended every one of the Wildcats’ seven games in the fall season.

Kelsey and Courtney Rodriguez share a very competitive relationship on the field, both trying to be the best at everything, which is one way the sisters motivate one another.

“We are competitive in running mostly,” Courtney Rodriguez said. “But Kelsey has me beat in weights.”

Kelsey Rodriguez said their competitiveness stemmed from playing high school soccer together.

“We ran at a similar speed, but Courtney would always have to stay one step ahead of me,” Kelsey Rodriguez said. “I would say, ‘Courtney, let’s just stay next to each other so we can stay at the same pace.’ So I would try to stay next to her and she would still maintain that step ahead of me. At that point we would start going into a full sprint when we are trying to do distance running. So I just let Courtney stay that one step ahead.”

The Rodriguez sisters may share a name, but they identify as two very different types of athletes.

“Courtney has a great future ahead of her and she is a sponge,” Candrea said. “She picks things up and works very hard.”

Kelsey Rodriguez describes her sister as “totally athletic and just does and reacts,” qualities Kelsey Rodriguez has always been envious of since she considers herself to be more analytical.

Naturally, that is what Courtney Rodriguez admires most about her sister.

“She is very smart,” Courtney Rodriguez said. “She knows the game and the pitches. She is more of the thinker.”

The Rodriguez sisters said they look forward to building more memories together as Wildcats throughout the next two years, and hold hopes of winning another back-to-back championship title.

“Having her there as someone you can go to no matter what is great,” Kelsey Rodriguez said. “Sometimes I’m not in the best mood and I know she is not going to hate me or get mad at me. It’s like a friendship on a different level compared to any other friendship. She is your sister and she will love you no matter what.”

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