Versatility runs in the Young family for Arizona softball
Arizona softball freshman third baseman Lauren Young has made an impressive transition to college, at least statistically, due in no small part to a familiar face.
Her brother Brandon is one of the managers.
“I absolutely love it; he’s always there for me,” Lauren said. “I like having family out there to support me all the time, at home and away.”
Brandon likes the arrangement too, calling it a “dream job.”
“I feel like I’m more of a teammate rather than a manager,” Brandon said. “I help the girls out in practice, whether it’s catching in the bullpen or beating [sophomore catcher] Chelsea Goodacre in a game of pickle. I’d say my favorite part of the job is shagging in the outfield during batting practice and traveling with the team.”
Lauren said her older brother, a sophomore, helps her off the field, too, with school.
“He gives me advice on what to do, and he makes it a lot easier,” Lauren said.
Lauren, who was team MVP as a junior and senior and 2012 Athlete of the Year at Canyon High School in Anaheim, Calif., actually picked UA before her brother her junior year.
“I owe a huge amount of credit in getting the job through my sister,” Brandon said. “If it weren’t for her, I don’t think I would have gotten the job. I also pestered [head] coach [Mike] Candrea through email last summer, and I owe him a bunch for given me the opportunity. It truly is a blessing.”
Brandon is one of two softball managers, the other being James Nardi.
Lauren called Brandon’s college choice a “last minute” one for him, but he is glad he made it.
“I picked the U of A because it’s not too far from home and not too close,” Brandon said. “It really is paradise. The school and heat have definitely grown on me, and I do not regret coming here at all. It has it all: Beautiful women, campus is gorgeous and, most importantly, an awesome education. I would recommend it to any indecisive seniors in high school.”
Lauren has started all 50 games, one of five Wildcats to do so, has batted .297, scored 25 runs, hit six doubles, 11 home runs, has 33 RBI, 80 total bases, .580 slugging percentage, 18 walks and .377 on base percentage.
She is second on the team in home runs and RBI, third in slugging and total bases, fourth in walks, fifth in on base percentage, runs and hits and sixth in batting.
Lauren’s fielding percentage is .938 and had some athletic catches that television announcers gushed about.
Lauren credits Brandon and their father as the reason she started playing softball.
Brandon played baseball for the “majority” of his life until high school and joked that he has gotten so good at center field that he is “up to par” with former UA and USA softball star Caitlin Lowe, Arizona’s director of softball operations.
Lauren will also be a Team USA player; she was selected to the 17-member 2013 Junior National Team. The 19-and-under Yanks will play in the International Softball Federation X Jr. Women’s World Championship in July 1-7, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
“I’d say it has actually gone better than I thought,” Lauren said about this season. “I didn’t think I was going to do that well. I made my adjustments, and I think I’m really proud of what I did so far.”
Lauren is a versatile player that Candrea called a “Swiss Army knife.”
“I play everywhere but pitcher,” Lauren said. “Wherever coach needed me I was happy to play.”
She doesn’t know if she will play a different position next season or where she will play for Team USA.
On March 10, she hit four home runs against Boise State and had nine RBI.
In a 12-2 win over UC Riverside on April 6, Lauren had seven RBI, the most of any Wildcat all season. Six of the RBI came off of a pair of three-run home runs.
Brandon said that she is “an inspiration” and that he is glad to see her grow as a person and player.
“My sister has played phenomenally,” Brandon said. “She is an all-star, stud, superhero, she’s crazy good. I don’t know how she does it, but she definitely kills it. Her hard work has truly paid off, and that can easily be witnessed by coming out to a practice or game.”