Arizona softball excited about weekend off
Sophomore Lauren Young (9) and junior Chelsea Goodacre (77) will have more downtime this weekend, when Arizona gets its first bye of this season.
For the first time in the 2014 regular season, the No. 9 Arizona softball team does not have a weekend game. The Wildcats have played every weekend before this and will play every weekend after.
If the Wildcats make it to the Women’s College World Series, this will be their only bye week from early February to June.
Coincidentally, Arizona (34-9, 9-6) has its off-week during Easter weekend, which will allow players to spend time with their families and relax.
However, redshirt junior shortstop Kellie Fox said the team is still going to work hard, despite the downtime.
“We’re going to have a strong week of practice; we have a few scrimmage days and then we’re going to rest our bodies,” Fox said. “We’re going to have a good Easter weekend, sit back and relax just for a few days and then get back to the grind.”
The Wildcats will have time to recover after hitting the road for two of the last three weekends and going 3-3 in those road games.
It’s no secret the Wildcats have struggled on the road this season, and now Arizona head coach Mike Candrea has time to watch tape and improve in areas of concern.
Among those concerns are pitchers maintaining their control and batters limiting their strikeouts. Both problems have lost games this season, especially on the road.
Arizona is worst in the Pac-12 conference with 185 walks allowed and second-worst in strikeouts, striking out 165 times on offense this season.
Candrea said the team will work this week to improve some of those problem areas.
“We’re trying to recreate some competition, so we’re doing some live at-bats the next three days, a little scrimmage on Friday,” Candrea said. “Then take a couple days off and come back for a mid-week game.”
Regardless of what the team works on this week, it’s obvious that players and coaches alike are happy for the downtime.
“It’s kind of nice, I haven’t had a weekend with my family, and it’s nice that it’s during Easter weekend,” senior pitcher Estela Piñon said. “I know a lot of the girls are excited to go back home and have a little bit of time for themselves.”
Next week the Wildcats play a doubleheader against New Mexico State at home in their last non-conference action. Arizona will then host Utah for a Pac-12 series.
Arizona will play five games in five days, starting on Wednesday.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555