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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    WCWS Update: Softball notes

    Northwesterns Tammy Williams, center, is helped off the field after an injury sliding into third base in the seventh inning against Arizona in the first game of the 2006 NCAA Division I softball championship in Oklahoma City yesterday. Arizona beat Northwestern 8-0, and will play the team again in game 2 of the series.
    Northwestern’s Tammy Williams, center, is helped off the field after an injury sliding into third base in the seventh inning against Arizona in the first game of the 2006 NCAA Division I softball championship in Oklahoma City yesterday. Arizona beat Northwestern 8-0, and will play the team again in game 2 of the series.

    OKLAHOMA CITY – With senior ace Alicia Hollowell doing all of the legwork for the Arizona pitching staff in the Women’s College World Series, some might not remember just how valuable their second pitcher was throughout the season.

    Sophomore pitcher Taryne Mowatt, who accumulated a 21-5 record, is not only in line to take the reins next season for Hollowell, who is about to pitch her final game in an Arizona uniform, she too has been a dominant pitcher for the Wildcats (53-11), boasting a 1.28 ERA in 163.2 innings.

    Throughout the year, Mowatt was seen as Hollowell’s sidekick, the pitcher that would only start in a non-crucial role. But one thing Mowatt has done is given Hollowell an exceptional amount of rest time, allowing Hollowell (31-5) to save her arm for when it is needed most, like, say, Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3 of the championship series of the WCWS against Northwestern (50-14) tonight at 5 on ESPN2.

    “”We both contributed throughout the year,”” Mowatt said. “”And now it’s the end of the year, and her last year, and she wants to go out and win, and then I’ll have my time to shine these next few years.

    It was thought that Arizona head coach Mike Candrea would use both pitchers in the WCWS, saying in a May 7 interview, “”I’ve tried in the past to ride one horse and you just can’t do it,”” but it seems that five games into the tournament, a new plan has been hatched.

    Mowatt has been used in the WCWS for the designated player role, where she has shined, hitting three of Arizona’s four tournament extra base hits, including a home run in Game 1, but she is eager to get back into the circle.

    “”I obviously want to get out there and pitch,”” Mowatt said. “”I’d love to pitch, but I mean, we’re doing what we need to win. I think it’s good that I got to pitch during the year because now (Hollowell’s) rested, and she can go all these games.””

    Speed killing Arizona opponents in WCWS

    For those familiar with the Arizona lineup, they know the kind of influence assistant coach Larry Ray has on the style of hitting with a third of the lineup.

    Since the Wildcats only have four extra base hits in World Series play, one might wonder how they seem to be winning so many ballgames in blowout fashion.

    Arizona’s leadoff, No. 2 and No. 9 hitters seem to be getting all the production for the team in a slap hitting fashion, similar to that of right fielder Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners, a style that Ray is renown for inventing in softball.

    Junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe, senior left fielder Autumn Champion and sophomore right fielder Adrienne Acton have been providing the team with some much needed running threats at the top and bottom of the order and giving the rest of the lineup a spark to work with.

    “”Speed kills,”” Candrea said. “”Obviously when you see us put the ball on the ground and force them to make decisions quickly a lot of things can happen. It’s kind of what we live and die on.””

    Lowe leads the team with 32 stolen bases on the year, three in the WCWS, Champion has 16 and Acton 10, but all these hitters have to do is put the ball on the ground, and they have a good chance of being safe at first.

    “”You get those three kids on base and you blink an eye and they’re taking a base,”” Candrea said. “”That’s basically Arizona softball. Speed in this game is tough to defend because it puts pressure on the defense. It forces them to do things quicker than they’re used to doing.””

    Lately the slap-speedsters have been contributing in their own small ball way, and the middle of the Arizona lineup is doing their job of getting key hits.

    “”I definitely think it helps when we get our first batters on base because obviously they are fast,”” sophomore catcher Callista Balko said. “”You can have some people in the middle of the lineup that have some power to get the hits, so they are able to knock them in.””

    Acton added, “”I just go up there and try to get on base. When I’m on first, I look up and see Cait(lin), and she almost always puts the ball in play. I have the utmost confidence in Autumn and Caitlin to just move me around.

    “”I get excited because it happens all the time, and I love be a part of it. Putting the ball in play is what I need to keep doing.””

    There’s no crying in softball

    On a bizarre play which made the second out of the seventh inning last night, Northwestern shortstop Tammy Williams was safe on a bunt to Hollowell after the pitcher’s throwing error when the ball went down the line. Williams decided to try and take an extra two bases on the throw and was caught at third on the relay by second baseman Chelsie Mesa.

    Williams dove head first into third, except she didn’t quite make it to the base that freshman third baseman Janae Leles was covering.

    Williams hit her head on what appeared to be Leles’ leg and blood suddenly gushed down her forehead in a violent display.

    After Williams was assuredly out, Leles displayed a bit of unsportsmanlike conduct, slapping Williams on the head a second time. After Williams was visibly hurt, Leles then proceeded to cry for the remainder of the game, feeling guilty for what she had done.

    The next batter hit a ground ball to Leles, and still choked up, she bobbled the ball badly, unable to make a throw to commit an error.

    The game ended a batter later, but Leles still walked off the field visibly upset with herself and was seen talking to undergraduate assistant coach Jackie Coburn.

    The team offered no comment on Leles’ actions, and Leles was not seen after the game.

    Notes

    Arizona improved to 19-0 in the WCWS when scoring five or more runs in a game … With last night’s attendance of 4,391, a record of 41,699 fans have passed through the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium gates for the 2006 WCWS. The previous record was set last year in 10 sessions, and so far this year there has been only eight … Arizona set a WCWS record last night with its 10 stolen bases on the week (on 10 attempts). The previous mark was eight by Arizona in 1996 … With two runs scored, Lowe tied the WCWS record for most runs scored (six). She shares the record with former Arizona player Alison Johnsen (1996), UCLA’s Lisa Fernandez (1992), and Lorraine Maynez of UCLA (1989) … Mesa’s 10th homer of the season last night was her first hit of the series. She was 0-16 before the hit.

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