Friday, February 6, 2009

Arizona Softball Opens with the Kajikawa Classic

Arizona Softball is set to begin this weekend in Tempe as the annual Kajikawa Classic. Ranked No. 7 in the nation, the Wildcats who failed to reach the Championship Round for only the sixth time since 1991 have a chip on their soldier. In last year’s Classic the team left Tempe winless going 0-3. This year’s squad doesn’t see that happening again.

What to Expect/Look Forward to:

Mike Candrea is back as Arizona’s skipper. Last year Candrea left the team in the hands of assistant Larry Ray as he headed to Coach the United States in what now appears to be the last Olympic softball competition. This is good news for the Wildcats, especially considering his resume:
Fastest Coach to 1100 Wins
9 Pac-10 Titles
10 time Pac-10 Coach of the Year
20 out 21 Trips To College World Series (16 consecutive)
8 National Titles (12 Appearences)

Welcome back Mike

The Who’s Who of College Softball:
Every year the Amateur Softball Association of America presents one player with the honor of being named the USA National Collegiate Player of the Year (Because I know our readers: It is essentially the Heisman Trophy of Softball).

The Preseason list consists of 50 players to watch, and will be narrowed down to 25 on April 1st. The 2009 list boasts two of Arizona’s finest:

-Brittany Lastrapes: Sophomore: OF: Laguna Niguel, California.

-Jenae Leles: Senior : 3B :Fair Oaks, California

New Faces on the Mound and Behind the Plate:

The lineage looks a little something like this: Taryne Mowatt, Alicia Hollowell, Jennie Finch, Becke Lemke, and Nancy Evans. For the first time since 1989 the Wildcats will be without an all American pitcher.

Outlook: Sophmore Lindsey Sisk will be taking over after a 10-2 record as a freshman which was a better start than Mowatt’s freshman campaign. Sisk should prove to an outstanding player, and should keep the Wildcat faithful worry free.

Behind the plate: Stacie Chambers will have to replace the offensively gifted Callista Balko who had 15 homeruns and a team high 49 RBIs. It will be interesting to see how her production is after missing the Fall Tournaments with a wrist injury.

Look forward to a more in depth breakdown of the season after this weekend when we can really gauge our chance at another National Title.

Schedule for the Kajikawa:
Friday, February 6
vs. Kansas, 4:30 p.m. (Tempe Sports Complex)
vs. UTEP, 7 p.m. (Tempe Sports Complex)
Saturday, February 7
vs. Northwestern, 10 a.m. (Farrington Stadium, ASU)
vs. Nevada, 12:30 p.m. (Farrington Stadium, ASU)
Sunday, February 8
vs. UC Santa Barbara, 1 p.m. (Tempe Sports Complex)

4Real Out…..