SB: Young player to watch - Tucson News Now

SB: Young player to watch

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Lauren Young dives to double up a runner on a liner to third. Lauren Young dives to double up a runner on a liner to third.

By Kendra Kautz

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -- Freshman Lauren Young is making a huge impact for the Wildcats as the program's new starter at third base.

The former high school shortstop has made the transition to third base quite nicely since the transfer of super sophomore Shelby Pendley.

In her first season with Arizona she has a .320 average with ten homers and 30 RBI, which makes her second on the team in RBI.  She has a .374 on base percentage, .602 slugging and .928 fielding.

Saturday night Young hit a pair for three-run home runs and drove in seven runs in UA's 12-2 run rule win over U-C Santa Barbara

The Anaheim Hills, California product has been a key player for Cats Head Coach Mike Candrea due to her versatility.  Lauren says she doesn't have a natural position but will play "everywhere but pitcher."

"Lauren's a good athlete.  We knew we could she could play a lot of different positions and play them well," said Candrea.

At Canyon High School, she had a .394 average with .746 slugging and five home runs in her senior season.  She lettered all four years and earned MVP in her junior and senior seasons. 

She attributes her success this season to great coaching and teammates like senior Bridgette Del Ponte who knows the third base position well. 

Young's teammates are also not surprised by how much she has brought to the table offensively.

"I love everything she brings, said Chelsea Suitos, Wildcats 2nd base. "She brings great energy and she's kind of like a spark for the rest of the team especially on the offensive side of things,"

Young managed three hits, four home runs and six RBIs the first game of a double header against Boise State March 9.  To finish them off in the second game, she had three hits, a two-run home run in the third inning and three RBIs.  Both games ended in Arizona victories.   

When it comes to this offensive success, it's Candrea who has helped Young's confidence. 

"Coach has been telling us to have a plan, and lately that's been helping me a lot in the box, and lately I've believed in myself more that I have the ability to do what I can do," said Young.  

With a solid season thus far under her belt, it doesn't reveal the learning mistakes most freshman make.  There's always a growing process involved at the collegiate level. 

"She's had some times when she's looked a little clueless but most of all she's had some really good at-bats and she's controlled the things she can control and that's a good part of it," said Candrea.  

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