Fastpitch News’ In the Circle podcast is gearing up for the beginning of the softball season. Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe spoke to the podcast on the Dec. 16 edition. They spoke about the transition to her leadership, her staff, her young team, dealing with media duties, softball rules, and the female coaches of the Pac-12.
Read a transcript of some of the highlights from the first half of the podcast below. They have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity. Scroll to the bottom to listen to the full interview.
In the Circle: What has been some of the adjustments you’ve had to make since taking over?
CL: I spent a lot of time in the office, but now it seems like, you know, every, every hour of your day is accounted for... Coach (Mike Candrea) had me in on a lot of these meetings prior to taking over this job, so he prepared me, but it was kind of crazy getting used to that. And you’re in charge of scheduling everything and making sure everyone’s on the same page. And it took a while in the summertime and throughout the fall, but I’m blessed, just blessed to work with great people that made the transition easier.
ITC: What’s the one thing you take from (former head coach Mike Candrea)?
CL: Just to be myself. I think that was the biggest thing. I think he tells everybody that you have a good gut, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You’ve played the game the right way. And he knows me as a coach and I could have very easily come in and just perfectly scripted his practice plans. What he would say (is) just to come in and put my own spin on things. And I think you’re gonna see really a lot of things that were inspired by him, but I’m trying to just kind of stay true to myself.
ITC: You’re now gonna be handling a lot of the media stuff, which he’s been so good at. What is that gonna be like for you now? I mean, a lot of people want to know about Arizona softball. It’s one of the most high-profile positions. How is that gonna be an adjustment? Is it an adjustment for you at all?
CL: Yeah, I think a little bit. I mean, the post-game stuff, the pre-game stuff, that’s all on me now. And I think when you deal with, the media and the fans in Tucson, we have high expectations, but you know what, so do we as a staff, so do we as a team. So, I think that comes with the territory. It’s what you sign up for when you have this job. And um, you know, we hash out every performance in the dugout before he goes on those interviews. So I always got a vibe on how he was feeling going into those things... Is it something that I’ve kind of gotten a taste of being a player and his assistant? Yes, a little bit, but obviously... (it) gets a little bit elevated in this seat.
ITC: Obviously they had great leadership on (last year’s team). Who are the leaders on this team or is that still evolving?
CL: I would have to say still evolving and we have so many great people in the mix and a lot of them and I think in their own different ways. I think you’ve (Sharlize Palacios) blossom into that role behind the plate. She’s using her voice more. Izzy Pacho, as well. She didn’t get as many innings (in the fall), but she just she’s a worker and she knows the right things to say. And just so proud of her growth in the infield. we’ve got Allie Skaggs, who did get some time because Reyna (Carranco) got hurt last year and she stepped...I could say the same about Carly Scupin and our seniors. I think you’re gonna see Hanah Bowen step into a role she’s never had before in the circle...But you know what I’ve challenged them with? It’s easy when we’re doing it in practice. And I think what it comes down to during the season is who’s gonna be the (one) when things get hard because things get hard. They get hard every year. Who’s gonna be the one to step in when it’s uncomfortable and maybe they’re not having their best week or month?... I think that’s when you’ll see our leaders emerge.”
ITC: Did you expect that power coming from (Palacios)? I think everybody kind of expected her to be a great defensive catcher and things like that, but the power game that she brought, just talk about her overall game, because you were able to use her as a DP a lot. And I wonder this year now, what’s your kind of plans. Do you want her behind the plate, wanna split her up between behind the plate and DP because of her back?
CL: Yes, absolutely. I expected that kind of power out of her. I think what I didn’t expect and what was a great surprise is how just smart, intelligent, she is at the plate and she doesn’t try to do too much. If you watch her take batting practice, she’s peppering balls to right-center, working on her oppo game, because she knows that’s gonna help her out once she faces live pitching...As far as using her, she will be our catcher. And then just making sure that we get someone else in the mix too, as it is a long season. Make sure we keep everybody fresh, too.
ITC: You mentioned obviously Hanah Bowen won 10 games, 2 ERA last year. Really stepped up there last year...Talk about your staff.
CL: Obviously, Hanah Bowen is gonna be our leader, I think not just with her stuff, but just her mentality, composure, the fire she plays with. If you’ve ever seen an important game of ours that she’s thrown, there’s a lot of fist pumps and she feels the game. And one of the greatest things is she comes in and she reads hitters. A lot of people just throw what the catcher sign is, but she feels the game and she is so heavily involved in it....I’m excited to see Devyn Netz throw this year. A lot of people don’t know. She kind of was going through some nagging injuries last year. And now she’s back, she’s fresh and talk about competitive fire, desire.