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UA catcher wants to be known as a strong hitter

Citizen Staff Writer
The Bounce



Don’t tell Arizona Wildcat catcher Dwight Childs he is just a defensive specialist.

“I hate that. I absolutely hate that,” Childs said. “Defense is my bread and butter, but I want to be known as a hitter too.”

In past seasons, there was no reason to think of offense when Childs’ name was mentioned, but that’s no longer the case.

After hitting .232 as a freshman and .193 as a sophomore, the junior is hitting the cover off the ball, with a .397 average.

Childs and UA host Oregon State for the first of a three-game series at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“It has been a bittersweet feeling because as a team we’re struggling, but behind the plate and at the plate I am feeling good,” Childs said. “What drives me is hitting under .200 last year. I was not going to let that happen again, no way.”

Childs has been needed on defense; he’s working with a young, struggling staff. But he still has improved his hitting, driving the ball and getting better looks at the plate.

The lanky catcher, at 6 feet 3 inches, 188 pounds, is supplying some power with three homers this season.

He had one dinger in his previous two years in 287 at-bats.

Childs is 11 for 19 over the past two weeks, with two homers, a pair of doubles and a triple.

“Wow. He is getting big hits,” UA coach Andy Lopez said. “It is not like he is getting a bunch of cheap hits and bloopers. He looks like the real deal. He has worked hard and has earned it.”

Childs was almost counted as a guaranteed out in the past, but there was no taking him out of the everyday lineup because of his ability to control thestaff and call pitches.

Childs had 12 extra-base hits coming into the season. He has added 10 this year with four doubles, three triples and the three homers in 27 games.

Childs has worked with new assistant coach Jeff Pickler to modify his batting stance.

He had a rare 0-for-3 day against USC on Friday, but came back with four hits Saturday.

“I didn’t get too many good pitches to hit that first game,” Childs said. “I came out and looked at myself as a .120 hitter again and I wanted to get out of the hole.

“I’m motivated to show my teammates, the coaches and everybody who has watched me the last two years that I can hit, too.”

Oregon State (18-6, 5-1)

at Arizona (13-14, 2-7)

Thursday: 7 p.m.

Friday: 6 p.m.

Saturday: noon at Sancet Stadium

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