TUCSON – Arizona softball kicked off fall practice Tuesday at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. UA’s fall schedule begins October 11-13 when it hosts the Arizona Fall Classic.
“I think we have a group of kids that have worked very hard this summer,” said head coach Mike Candrea, entering his 29th season at the helm of the program. “We’re ready to get rid of the bad taste from last year. We have a group right now that’s very determined, has a very good work ethic and that are excited to get going. I think everything that I see right now is a positive. It’s an exciting time of the year for us.”
Eleven Wildcats suited up for practice for the first time under head coach Mike Candrea while 13 players returned to the field after a summer off.
“Even though the World Series is eight months away, it all begins today,” said junior catcher Chelsea Goodacre. “Today sets the tone. It sets the tone for the rest of fall ball and it sets the tone for the spring.”
One of the 13 returners is redshirt senior pitcher Kenzie Fowler, who practiced for the first time in 16 months after sitting out last season recovering from back surgery.
“This is a good time for me to get back to the basics and back to the fundamentals,” said Fowler. “It feels really good to work on the really simple things that all of us need and work on who we are and get better each day.”
Fowler is one of five pitchers on the roster, giving depth to a position that has been shallow in recent years. The depth in the circle is a representation of what should be the strength of the entire team in 2014. UA figures to have an abundance of talent at every position.
“We have a very strong group of athletes that will compete very hard this year,” said Candrea.
Arizona kicks off its fall schedule on October 11 at 6:00 p.m. PDT with a visit from Phoenix College as a part of its three-day Arizona Fall Classic at Hillenbrand Stadium.