Softball Notebook

The Softball Channel’s Fastpitch Blog

06 2010

Brat Pack Battle

Tennessee & Arizona Freshmen Face Off

By Daniel Urban
TSC Analyst/Contributor

Conventional wisdom suggests that underclassman pitchers do not lead their teams to titles. Whether it is a lack of technical development, lack of mental fortitude, or lack of leadership, no underclassman pitcher has taken her team to a WCWS trophy in recent memory.

But a new crop of freshman superstars are challenging that conventional wisdom.

Tennessee’s Ivy Renfroe and Arizona’s Kenzie Fowler are changing the rules before our eyes. Each of these two young ladies were in high school last worrying about SATs, and now each of them have lead their teams to the WCWS Final Four.

Renfroe is a Tennesse native who during the regular season pitched for a 31-4 record, 223.2 innings, 2.25 ERA, and 224 strikeouts. During the WCWS she has elevated her game to throw 12 innings and 16 strikeouts while only allowing 5 earned runs.

Tennessee is one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the tournament, largely because Renfroe has pitched superbly and kept runs off the board. Renfroe is showing title caliber poise.

Arizona’s Kenzie Fowler hails from Oro Valley, Arizona and earned a 36-7 record, 264.2 innings, 1.35 ERA, and 348 strikeouts. Fowler is red hot in the WCWS tournament; she has thrown 17 innings, 26 strikeouts and only allowed 6 runs. She is playing her best ball of the season and may be able to ride her hot streak all the way to the trophy.

Not only are these two young ladies changing our expectations about the performance of underclassman pitchers, they are part of the democratization of softball. Both Fowler and Renfroe hail from non-California states.

After a decades long monopoly on top softball talent, the best players in the game are finally starting to sprout up east of the Olympic softball belt.

It is great to see young talent excel in Division I softball. I cannot wait for them to face off against one another today!

One Response to “Brat Pack Battle”

  1. Kenzie Fowler outdueled Ivy Renfroe tonight, proving herself the superior freshman. In a mercy rule-shortened 5-inning game Fowler pitched 4 innings, struck out 3 and did not allow any runs.

    Fowler also got a huge boost from her offense: Brittany Lastrapes and Karissa Buchanon each contributed 3 hits and 2 RBI apiece.

    Renfroe pitched 2.2 innings, allowed 3 runs and struck out 5. She pitched well, but not well enough to overcome Arizona’s potent offense and Fowler’s shutout performance.

    The WCWS final will be excellent. UCLA is playing at the top of their game, but Arizona has more than proved that they are UCLA’s equal. It should be one heck of a final.

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