Softball seniors seeking one more championship

By Eric Wein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Laura Espinoza wants one more thing before her playing days at Arizona are over.

She may already hold career and season records for both home runs and RBI, and the UA softball team's shortstop may have been an integral part of two national championship teams, but there's just that one thing she's dying to get.

Another ring.

"I'm a senior and I'm going out of here with something," Espinoza said.

That campaign begins tomorrow when the Wildcats open their 1995 season with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. against New Mexico State at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Wildcats will be mid

gunning for their third straight title.

Because Arizona's ace of the last four years, Susie Parra, has moved on to coaching, that could mean those expectations will fall on the shoulders of Espinoza's roommate, Nancy Evans.

"She feels the pressure a little bit," Espinoza said. "I keep telling her I'm going to buy her a pressure cooker to remind her where she's at."

Evans, who was 17-0 with a 1.39 ERA last year, will combine with fellow sophomore Carrie Dolan (11-2, 1.72) to fill in at the one position for which the Wildcats have gotten the least recognition.

"Our pitchers are young and they don't know what to expect yet," Espinoza said. "I'm sure they're feeling a lot of pressure because Susie's not around."

But it also falls on the shoulders of Coach Mike Candrea, who may have to keep his players charged up even when they're playing lesser opponents.

"When it comes to self-motivation, they've got to want to do it," Candrea said. "I told them, 'It's time you guys show you're recommitted to this game, willing to go out, have fun and work hard.' I don't have pro softball to keep people motivated, so I don't want the kids to sit back and be satisfied."

Read Next Article