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Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler in contention for spot on Team USA

Kenzie Fowler finished last season with a 26-9 record. Photo by Mark Evans, TucsonCitizen.com

Arizona Wildcats pitcher Kenzie Fowler is in the running for a spot on the United States national team that will compete in the Women’s World Championship this summer.

Former Arizona third baseman Jenae Leles is one of 12 players who already have been chosen to the team, which will include infielder Molly Johnson, a Sabino High graduate. Both were on the national team last year.

There are still five spots at stake, with 11 players having accepted invitations to try out. They include Fowler and Arizona State sophomore pitcher Dallas Escobedo.

More will be added for the June selection camp.

Fowler was 26-9 last season with a 1.89 ERA, working through mechanical changes and then suffering a concussion late in the season. She missed a few weeks of game time and conditioning and faltered in the postseason.

The Canyon del Oro grad was 35-9 with a 1.69 ERA as a freshman, leading the Wildcats to the championship round of the Women’s College World Series. She has struck out 582 batters in 479 2/3 innings.

The Wildcats started practice Wednesday and open the season Feb. 9 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.

Here are the 10 other players who have Team USA roster spots: Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif./Cal senior), Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif./Arizona State 2009), Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md./Tennessee junior), Ashley Holcombe (Fayetteville, Ga./Alabama 2009), Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nev./Iowa 2006), Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla./Florida senior), Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif./Oklahoma junior), Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Michigan 2011), Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga./Missouri 2011) and Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa/Missouri junior).

The ISF XIII World Championship will be held July 13-22 in Canada, wrapping up before the start of the London Olympics. Softball was ousted as an Olympic sport after the 2008 Games.

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