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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Fixing Fowler

Fixing+Fowler

The biggest story of the 2010 Women’s College World Series wasn’t necessarily which team took home the national championship.

During the third game of the tournament, Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler was barraged with calls of illegal pitches, a call used to prevent pitchers from having both feet in the air at the same time during their wind-up and delivery.

Though clearly frustrated, the strength and power of Fowler’s arm guided head coach Mike Candrea and the Arizona softball team all the way to the championship series. Fowler threw 805 pitches and nearly every inning in the WCWS for the Wildcats.

Arizona would go on to lose the series 2-0 to National Champion UCLA, but the bigger issue was Fowler’s delivery style and health — the exact reasons Fowler has decided to change her mechanics.

“”I think it was something that started off with trying to make her legal and then also finding a way to make her more efficient and not put so much stress on her body,”” Candrea said.

Fowler’s health was in question after the season. During the last game of the series, Fowler’s arm swelled to the point where she could not grip the ball without what she called immense pain. Doctors ordered Fowler to take the summer off.

“”They kind of put me on reserve,”” Fowler said.

Folwer said she worked with doctors and pitching coach Teresa Wilson, analyzed her pitching motion, and saw she was putting pressure and stress on her neck and arm.

In order to keep her endurance up, Fowler’s pitching mechanics had to change.

Wilson and Fowler used the offseason to find the most effective way to deliver the ball while still being dominant. She said her new delivery begins with her windup going out toward home plate, rather than a vertical motion.

“”You can watch her and you can see that she doesn’t use as much effort as she did, especially in the shoulder area,”” Candrea said.

He compared Fowler’s change to the adjustments former pitcher Jennie Finch, who adjusted her pitching style to become more effective and go deeper into the season.

“”I think Kenzie is using her speeds more effectively than she was in the past. I think she’s becoming a pitcher and I’m excited about that,”” Candrea said. “”Last year she reared back and threw the ball hard, and that does take its toll on you.

“”I think this year she’s using more deception against hitters, and you can use deception and not tire yourself out.””

Candrea admitted that Fowler’s strikeout numbers may go down this season, but noted that the effectiveness of her pitches and her ability to last through the season are his main concerns.

For Fowler, endurance was more important than power.

“”It took me a good two months to get comfortable with things. I’ll mess around and pitch my old way and it feels very foreign,”” Fowler said. “”I pitched that way for ten years and it’s so weird that you can pick up something so fast, and it feels natural.””

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