Cats Ink Four for Softball

Nov. 13, 2008

TUCSON -- The Arizona Softball team signed four high school student-athletes to letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA's early signing period.

Brigette DelPonte (C/INF, Sunrise Mountain High School, Peoria, Ariz.), Kenzie Fowler (P, Canyon del Oro High School, Tucson, Ariz.), Baillie Kirker (3B/1B, Crescenta Valley High School, Montrose, Calif.) and Rebecca Tikey (OF, Horizon High School, Scottsdale, Ariz.) are all committed to enroll at the UA next fall.

'As a whole this class of recruits definitely adds to what our program has for the future,' said Arizona Head Coach Mike Candrea. 'They'll help in areas that we need, although like any group of young players, the level of that contribution remains to be seen until they get here and start working.'

In three years of high school, DelPonte has won the 5A State Championship twice, with a runner up finish in 2007. She was also part of the Arizona Hotshots Gold 18-under club that took third place at the 2008 ASA Gold Nationals in Oklahoma City earlier this fall. Last season, DelPonte batted a reported .514 in 31 games, including 39 RBI and nine home runs for Sunrise Mountain. She has two first team all-region commendations to her credit.

'Brigette is a right-handed hitter who will work for a role behind the plate or in the middle infield,' said Candrea.

Fowler, the reigning Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year and ESPY award finalist, had a 24-1 record last season with a 0.28 ERA and 309 strikeouts in only 148.2 innings, leading the Dorados to their second consecutive 4A state title. She has been named the Southern Arizona Player of the Year by both the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Citizen in each year of her high school career, and has garnered three NFCA High School All-American honors.

'Kenzie has an outstanding future and we're glad she's finally here. She will be a very good pitcher for us,' said Candrea.

Kirker is on track to break the California career home run record -- a mark held by current Wildcat freshman Lini Koria (45) -- with 37 home runs to her credit. The power hitter slugged 16 homers in her freshman season, the record for a California high school newcomer. Just last season, she belted a Southern Section-record 18 home runs, and was named the Div. III Player of the Year in 2008 for her efforts. Kirker was part of the Worth Firecrackers club that won the 2007 18-under ASA Gold Championship.

'Baillie is a power-hitting player likely to play at the corners, at third or first. She can hit the ball,' said Candrea.

Hailing from the same high school that produced UA great Becky Lemke, Tikey batted a reported .425 in 34 games as a junior. The speedy outfielder nabbed 45 hits including 12 doubles, and scored 30 runs while batting in 33 RBI.

'Rebecca is quick and someone we see in the short game as a slapper with speed,' said Candrea.

Up Next: The Cats open their season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. on Feb. 6, 2009 against Kansas at 4:30 p.m. Tucson time.

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