Arizona softball coach Candrea on lineup, offense, and winning
As last year’s Arizona softball team fell to Oklahoma in the NCAA Super Regionals, the Wildcats look toward the upcoming season to improve, reclaim national success and end the year with a national championship.
Eight new players join Arizona softball’s roster this season, looking to fill the vacant positions left by eight departing players as head coach Mike Candrea seeks to balance the youth of his team with talent and chemistry.
The eight players who departed accounted for 60 percent of the runs scored and 58.4 percent of the RBI, as well as 52.4 percent of the hits. Arizona’s offense is going to have to bounce back in order to reach World Series glory again.
Daily Wildcat: How did you feel about the lineup that was put together last weekend? What type of tweaking does it need before this week’s games?
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Softball vs San Diego State University
Candrea: We experimented with different lineups last weekend. We’re still seeing what’s productive for us. Lineups sometimes will change throughout the year, so at this point, it’s kind of insignificant where we are at in terms of it. Right now it’s a matter of who’s hot and which players are going to give us our best chance at being successful.
Who will be the driving force for your offense this season? Are there any notable new members of the lineup you are personally excited about?
You have to first look at the kids who returned; Brigette Del Ponte, Hallie Wilson and Chelsea Goodacre are three that really need to set the tone for us offensively. I thought Chelsea Suitos did a good job last weekend getting on base and moving over runners. I thought Lauren Young moved the ball pretty well for her first time out. Estela Piñon, Darcy Taylor and Mandie Perez also impressed. The key [at] this point is to get consistency. All of them right now, though, are gaining the experience they need moving forward.
How do you see the offense playing a role in the team’s success this season? What is your offensive strategy?
The biggest thing about offense is that it can sometimes come and go, so your foundation really has to be your pitching and defense to give your offense a chance to produce some runs. We can’t depend on that three-run home run. Instead, we have to try to get runners on base, move them over and try to utilize every out in a productive way.
What changes, if any, have you made in your offensive strategy? How do you believe that will lead you to another World Series berth?
Right now, we are trying to identify the young kids and what they are going to contribute on a day-to-day basis. That takes time and takes games, so we probably won’t know anything until the middle of March, where we will have a better idea of what the team will look like. But currently, it’s still a work in progress.
Do you think offense will play as big of a role as defense in terms of winning ball games this year?
You have to have both. You’ve got to score runs to win and at the same time, you have to keep people from scoring. You have to have solid pitching performances, play good defense and complement that with getting timely hits.