By Eric Wein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

For a change, Arizona coach Mike Candrea was nowhere to be seen yesterday afternoon during the softball team's practice at Hillenbrand Stadium.

While the top-ranked Wildcats (44-2, 12-0 in the Pac-10) were getting ready for their weekend road trip to Oregon, where they will face Oregon State tomorrow and Oregon on Sunday, Candrea was watching a high school game in Phoenix with the hopes of encouraging a player to walk on next year.

So assistant coatch Larry Ray supervised practice for the day before Candrea rejoins the team for its road trip.

All three of the UA coaches have been busy scouting and recruiting, which has led to the signing of three prospects.

Arizona will welcome two local players and another from southern California to its lineup.

Lety Pineda, a power hitter from Desert View High School in Tucson, could take over third base after Susie Duarte graduates this year, as well as provide a backup for Leah Braatz at catcher.

"I think she could be the biggest surprise of any player we've ever known," Ray said.

Julie Reitan from Sahuaro High and Alison Johnsen from Irvine (Calif.) High School are expected to add quickness to the lineup.

"They're extremely talented, but in a different way than this freshman class we have now, more speed-oriented," said Ray, who works primarily on baserunning and slap hitting. "If you look at this team, the outsider would say they have no weaknesses, but right now, to improve our team next year, to have a little speed, would be awesome."

Meanwhile, the Wildcats continue rolling through their schedule after having dominated ASU in a doubleheader sweep Wednesday night in Tempe. Their next five doubleheaders are against Pac-10 teams on the road.

This weekend, the Wildcats will try to accomplish something they have never done hit a homer at either of the Oregon stadiums. But Arizona figures to turn that around, having hit 65 this season. Read Next Article