When new Arizona softball assistant coach Josh Bloomer met with the media at the beginning of fall practice, he said that fans should be prepared for lots of stolen bases this year. If the Wildcats didn’t break the program record, the only reason would be that they hit so many doubles that they didn’t get the opportunity. As it turned out in Arizona’s fall scrimmage against Phoenix College, even standing on second base didn’t always stop the Wildcats from taking another base.
The Wildcats stole nine bases against the Bears. Freshman centerfielder Regan Shockey (3) and sophomore left fielder Dakota Kennedy (2) each had multiple steals. In the bottom of the second inning, Shockey stole both second and third bases. Paige Dimler, Zaedi Tagalog, Kaiah Altmeyer, and Jasmine Perezchica also swiped bases. None of the Wildcats were caught stealing.
The base stealing didn’t stop when the first game was called after five innings with a 17-0 Arizona victory, either. In the late game against Eastern Arizona College, both Dimler and Altmeyer tacked an additional steal to their daily stats. Tayler Biehl also got in on the act. Dimler attempted a second stolen base in the Wildcats’ 10-0 six-inning victory, but she was the victim of Arizona’s only caught stealing of the doubleheader.
Five of Arizona’s seven pitchers saw action in the two games. Only senior Devyn Netz and sophomore Sydney Somerndike sat out this week’s games.
Fifth-year pitcher Ali Blanchard got the start in the early game against Phoenix College. She faced seven batters in her 2.0 innings of work. She gave up one hit and struck out two. Twenty-two of her 37 pitches went for strikes.
Blanchard was relieved by transfer Miranda Stoddard. Stoddard pitched two innings and got the win. She also faced seven batters and struck out two, but she also gave up two hits. Just six of her 23 pitches were balls.
The final inning was pitched by freshman Brooke Mannon. Mannon did not give up a hit, but she put one batter on via the hit-by-pitch. She struck out one after striking out five in her appearance last weekend. Ten of her 17 pitches were strikes.
Sophomore lefty Aissa Silva got the start in the late game. Silva struggled a bit, giving up a hit and walking two in two innings. She didn’t give up any runs and she struck out three batters. Silva had 14 of her 39 pitches called balls.
She was relieved by freshman lefty Ryan Maddox, who pitched three innings. Maddox struck out two and hit a batter, but she did not give up any hits. She threw 38 pitches and had 25 of them go for strikes.
Mannon was the final pitcher again in the second game. The tall righty pitched 0.2 innings. She forced groundouts from both batters she faced, throwing just four pitches.
The Wildcats had a total of 27 hits between the two games. They were distributed almost exactly evenly with 14 coming against PC and 13 against EAC.
In the first game, Shockey (3), Kennedy (2), Olivia DiNardo (3), and Logan Cole (2) all had multi-hit games. DiNardo and Carlie Scupin both launched home runs in the opener. Scupin had another in the late game and DiNardo added two more in the nightcap.
Kennedy showed her all-around offensive skill with her 2-for-2 game. She also had two RBI, two stolen bases, and two walks in the early contest.
The only hitter who had some difficulty at the plate was senior Allie Skaggs. She struck out twice in the two games without getting a hit. However, Bloomer has said that he wants an aggressive offense. In addition to the stolen bases, he wants players to swing and is willing to accept strikeouts. Skaggs also had an uptick in strikeouts early in the season last year before working things out.
The biggest surprise of the fall season has been the configuration of the outfield. Senior Perezchica, who has spent most of the past two seasons in centerfield, played right field in both games. Rather than move sophomore left fielder Kennedy over, center was patrolled by freshman Shockey. Shockey also led off for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats play their next fall scrimmage against Pima Community College on Friday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. MST.