A familiar Fox in the lineup for softball
Redshirt junior shortstop Kellie Fox jogs past third base after hitting a home run in Arizona’s 9-1 win against Valparaiso. Fox transferred from UCLA and is following in her sister Kristie Fox’s footsteps.
The No. 8 Arizona softball team is off to an incredible start to the 2014 season that has already seen two separate 10-game winning streaks. The Wildcats are 20-1, with their only loss coming from then-No. 16 Missouri on Feb. 20.
The Wildcats have shown dominance in all aspects of the game, but especially on the offensive side of the ball. The team is currently averaging 8.9 runs per game and has a collective team batting average of .404. To put that into perspective, last year’s Arizona squad hit .288 as a team.
Batting in the power spot and leading the way offensively this year is redshirt junior shortstop Kellie Fox, who is the team leader in home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, and is tied for the lead in hits and walks.
Kellie Fox, a transfer from UCLA, is in the middle of her first season as a Wildcat. Due to transfer rules, she had to sit out last season. Watching the team from the dugout, she saw the Wildcats struggle to a 33-26 record overall and a 9-15 conference record.
“It was really tough [sitting], I’ve never sat out ever in my entire life,” Kellie Fox said. “It was a learning experience. You sit back and you just learn from a different perspective. It was good for me.”
Despite starting in all 111 games she played at UCLA before transferring to Arizona in 2013, she had a season-high of 11 home runs and 45 runs batted in. In 21 games this season with the Wildcats, she has almost surpassed those numbers.
A big reason why Kellie Fox chose to transfer to Arizona was the presence of her sister. Kristie Fox played four years at Arizona, won two national championships and, like Kellie Fox, played shortstop and wore the number 29.
Kellie Fox said having her sister there to advise her and tell her about her experience at Arizona contributed to her transferring. Arizona head coach Mike Candrea has had the unique opportunity to coach both Fox sisters and said there are striking similarities between the two.
“They’re both very competitive, and they both come out here to get after it,” Candrea said. “That’s the sign of the Fox. They love to compete.”
Kristie Fox is now the head softball coach at Texas-Arlington and was scheduled to take on her former team last weekend during the Wildcat Invitational. Unfortunately, heavy rain forced the game to be cancelled and robbed the Fox sisters of the potential matchup.
“I was a little bit bummed,” Kellie Fox said. “It would’ve been fun out there to play against her, but it was really good to see her and watch her team play.”
Despite having a fierce sibling rivalry, the sisters continue to support each other through their various endeavors. Kristie Fox said she will support Kellie Fox in everything she does.
“I kind of wish that I could put the cleats back on and go head-to-head with her that way,” Kristie Fox said. “We’re really competitive, but at this point I support her in every game.”
Looking forward, Kellie Fox has 33 more regular season games this year to see how many single-season records she can try to break.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555