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Arizona softball: Tamara Statman's walk-off in Regional play caps off unlikely freshman season with Wildcats

A Regional winning walk-off is not a bad way to start your college career

Jason Bartel

For the Arizona Wildcats to be in the Auburn Super Regional, they needed some heroics against Tennessee in Knoxville last weekend.

Those heroics came off the bat of freshman Tamara Statman.

"It was really awesome to get the reaction that I did," she explained.

Statman is not your typical college freshman, and that's kind of what drew the Arizona coaching staff to her during her high school career.

"The one thing I liked about her is that anyone who has the guts to say they're going to be President of the United States, that's pretty gutsy for a high school kid," head coach Mike Candrea explained of her mental makeup when he was recruiting her. "And not just one year, she said that on her emails for like four years, but I knew she had confidence."

"If you look at her, you don't think she's a softball player, don't think she's an athlete," Candrea continued. "But if you watch her play, she always has a short, compact swing. She always hit good pitching, and that's kind of what we've got from her right now."

That confidence and short swing paid off in a big way, and sent Arizona back to the Super Regional round again.

"I was like okay, this is what, the bottom of the 8th inning, I gotta come through," she said of what she was thinking about when she stepped into the box. "I gotta step up. It's time."

Even though Statman's played in 53 of the team's 58 games, she was caught off guard by how much she's been able to play during her first year on campus.

"Getting the opportunity to hit in the lineup, and then kind of taking that position and becoming a designated hitter. That kind of took me by surprise," she said. "But it's been awesome and a really fun ride."

That fun ride all came to a head with her standing on second base, watching the winning run score in an NCAA Regional.

"Watching Nancy (Bowling) score and jumping up as high as I can because I was like 'What? She just scored! We just won this game!'," she said of her favorite moment of the hit. "I've always imagined playing college softball, so it's something that I've always thought about since I was young, but I didn't really come to realize that could actually happen until last week."

Maybe she'll get another chance at heroics this weekend against another SEC foe in Auburn. The Wildcats and Tigers get the Auburn Regional started on Saturday at 3:30 PM PT on ESPN2.