Winning regional, ‘matter of coming together,’ slugger Leles says
The Arizona softball team got five minutes Sunday to grouse about not getting to host an NCAA regional.
Then the Wildcats were instructed by coach Mike Candrea to “let it go.”
Arizona was sent to Louisville, Ky., where it opens against Tennessee-Martin on Friday.
“You have to get over the anger,” said UA senior third baseman Jenae Leles, who is second on the team in home runs (22).
There are other immediate matters at hand, like facing the postseason with peak performance and synchronizing all those necessary cylinders – namely pitching and defense to go with the team’s powerful offense.
The next homer by UA will break the NCAA – and school – season record of 126 dingers.
There are variables to consider, such as the humidity. There’s also the fact UA will face opponents that, while not highly rated, are capable of sending the Wildcats home heartbroken.
Leles, whose power shots are legend, said criticism that the Cats are just a bomber team is passe.
“I think we have proved the last few weeks that we can win with pitching and defense, too,” she said. “It’s all a matter of coming together.”
If Arizona tradition still intimidates foes, parity in college softball has diminished it.
“Our job, especially in the postseason, is to get higher than the emotional level of a team we play,” Leles said. “Tradition, though, can motivate us.”
What hurts the most for the seniors is they weren’t prepared to have their season end at home before May, as the weird 2009 schedule demanded.
“But there is still a chance that we can host the super regional next week,” Leles said.
In the meantime, politics means nothing on the field.
“Coach told us to get used to (politics),” she said. “It’s not so much we see it in softball but more than we will see it in life.”
Game 1: UA vs. Tennessee-Martin
Game 2: Louisville vs. Purdue
Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner
Game 7: Same teams (if necessary)