Fowler makes the transition - The Explorer: Sports

Fowler makes the transition

Former CDO star paces 'Cats into tourney

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Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 7:54 am, Wed Nov 28, 2012.

University of Arizona freshman Kenzie Fowler has proven her career did not peak at Canyon Del Oro High School.

Fowler has established herself as the #1 pitcher on the highly-ranked UofA softball team.

With a record of 33-6, and an ERA of 1.25, she has made the transition to "higher learning" very smoothly. A fireballer, she's also struck out 312 batters in 241 innings, an average of almost 12 per nine innings. The Wildcats stood at 46-11 overall, 23-3 at home.

Fowler was recently named "Player of the Week." Shortly afterwards, she pitched a perfect game.

"Being 'Player of the Week' was such an honor and I was so proud to represent U of A," Fowler said. "Our team is making great strides right now at the right time of the season and if we can keep playing with confidence, I think we can make a pretty good run."

The Wildcats host Brigham Young in the NCAA Super Regional this Friday through Saturday.

"U of A softball has been a powerhouse ever since I was a little girl, so the expectations are high, and we are expected to win," Fowler said.

Expectations were high during Fowler's senior year at CDO. The Dorados won their third consecutive state 4A-I title in softball in 2009. Fowler was named Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year. Max Preps named her "Athlete of the Decade" for Arizona for 2000-2009.

Winning is certainly nothing new to Kenzie Fowler. She keeps finding herself on championship-caliber teams.

"She works hard for everything," said CDO pitching coach Gale Bundrick. "She doesn't take things for granted.

"I worked with her since she was nine years old. She's probably one of the most grounded individuals I've ever known."

Has Bundrick been surprised by Fowler's success as a college freshman?

"I'm not surprised she's doing well as a freshman," Bundrick said. "I am surprised she's doing so well against Pac-10 teams." Fowler was 12-4 in the league, with a 1.90 ERA.

"The transition from high school to college is definitely a life-changing experience," Fowler said. "I've just tried to make the best out of every situation. Being a freshman, new to the college scene, I've tried to stay as focused and organized as I can."

The road to higher learning is just another challenge Fowler has hurdled. Her most difficult one may have happened when she was still in high school, during her sophomore season at CDO, when she had a life-threatening scare.

Fowler went to the emergency room at University Medical Center to correct an unknown problem.

Thought to be a breathing disorder, it turned out to be far worse. It was thoracic outlet syndrome, which restricts or shuts off the blood flow altogether between the arm and the ribs.

Kenzie's mother Kelly, the current CDO softball coach, said there were a series of blood clots. Three surgeries were required. She was scared.

"She's definitely exceeded hers and our expectations," Kelly Fowler said. "After the surgery, we didn't know what to expect."

"When I see her arm go around, we feel lucky. I say a thankful prayer every day."

How worried was Kenzie herself?

"I honestly didn't know how serious the surgery was because everything happened so fast," Kenzie said. "But I've just always assumed that injured athletes can come back from surgeries, so I didn't think my situation was any different. But I also didn't know the complications of my surgery."

What helped her through it? Physical therapy, and the support of family and friends, helped Fowler recover within a year. CDO won the next two state titles.

Now that she's at the UofA, the freshman has identified some of the differences.

"At the college level, the game is quicker and the players are stronger and faster," Fowler said. "Also, the conditioning schedule was tough in the fall as a freshman. You really max your body and it's pretty amazing how it responds when you condition for hours every day."

While Fowler remains a very dominating pitcher in college, she's getting used to batting less. She batted 22 times this season, despite a batting average of .364.

"I've always been a hitter," Fowler said. "It's part of who I am.

"But wherever the team needs me, and however, I can contribute the most to the team is where I want to be. Right now, that is pitching. I'm so excited to see where we will go and what lies ahead."

One thing left undecided is what Kenzie is going to do for a major. "I'm still thinking about it."

Another thing to be decided is who will be the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Fowler has been named one of the 10 finalists for this award. What about the awards she's already won?

"These honors are very special, with each representing a different part of my life and career. I am extremely honored to receive such prestigious awards," Fowler said. "I'm just happy to be competing at such a high level in the sport I love."

Kenzie's learned something else from college, while playing for the Wildcats.

"College has made me an expert traveler. I've got packing down to a science."

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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