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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball champs spend summer traveling to play

    Traveling to Oklahoma City to win a national title proved to be only the first championship trip to the Sooner State for a pair of elite Arizona softball players this summer.

    Arizona and USA National Team head coach Mike Candrea took pitcher Alicia Hollowell and center fielder Caitlin Lowe with him as he traveled back to Oklahoma City for national team tryouts just days after the Wildcats dominated the Women’s College World Series.

    That team later won the World Cup of Softball in July in the very stadium that brought Lowe and Hollowell such good fortune in June.

    The two have since come back to Tucson for a few days to start the semester, but later this week they will fly to Beijing to compete in the World Championships from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5. Later this year, they will play in the Japan Cup in Yokohama, Japan, Nov. 13-20.

    “”It’s a lot of fun,”” Hollowell said of playing internationally. “”The team in general is a lot of fun, just because there’s a different feeling that we’re all at the same level. It’s just the familiarity of having coach Candrea that makes it the same.””

    Hollowell said that after the tournament is over in Beijing, she expects to finish her degree at Arizona and then keep practicing with the national team with hopes to play in the Olympics in 2008, following in the footsteps of her predecessor Finch, who played in the 2004 Olympics.

    “”I’m going to explore my options,”” Hollowell said. “”At this point, that’s definitely something I want to try.””

    Some of Arizona’s players who did not make the national team are also happy to have even played on the same team as the new class of the country’s best players.

    “”I think it’s a great thing to represent the U.S.,”” said pitcher Taryne Mowatt. “”Caitlin is still on the Arizona team, so it has to be even more exciting for her.””

    Said former Wildcat pitcher Leslie Wolfe: “”It’s really neat for them. I’m so proud that they were my teammates in college, and now they’re representing our country.””

    Autumn Champion, a 2006 Arizona left fielder who now plays for the Arizona Heat, said the Wildcats’ reputation is raised when Arizona players appear with the letters “”USA”” on their jerseys.

    “”It’s great because it gives Arizona softball an even better name when we can send our players to play internationally,”” she said.

    Finch and fellow former Wildcat Lovie Jung are also members of the squad.

    Catcher Callista Balko and shortstop Kristie Fox also represented the U.S. on the World University Games Team, which featured several All-American collegiate softball players and won the gold medal at the World University Softball Championships in Taiwan in July.

    “”It was just cool to play internationally,”” Balko said. “”To play with the best of the best and with a different coaching staff – it was just a good experience.””

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