TEMPE, Ariz.- Batters should be afraid.
Putting what she thinks was an off year to the side, Dallas Escobedo says she expects to regain her form that led the Arizona State softball team to the national title two years ago.
Most pitchers would dream of a season going 24-8 with a 2.32 ERA, being named first-team All-Pacific-12 Conference and a trip to the Women’s College World Series.
But not the 6-foot-tall righthander, who was a dominating 37-3 (1.51 ERA) on her way to being named an All-American and the WCWS co-Most Outstanding Player (shared with Florida’s Michelle Moultrie) as a freshman.
“I think last year, I was expecting a lot more of myself,” Escobedo said, “and I think a lot of people were expecting a lot out of me because of my freshman year, but I kind of am happy because, I think it was not my best season, and I got that out of the way, so now I can relax and regroup, and get with the flow and get back to myself and my pitching.”
The Sun Devils open their schedule at 7 p.m. Thursday at Farrington Stadium versus New Mexico, and there are six more games throughout the weekend in the Kajikawa Classic.
“I feel good about Dallas all of the time,” ASU head coach Clint Myers said. “She’s a competitor, any time she’s in the circle, we have a chance to win.”
This season, Escobedo, who is from Glendale and attended Phoenix’s Saint Mary’s High School, will not have the mentorship of Hillary Bach, who went 22-1 with a 1.51 ERA as a senior in 2012. Mackenzie Popescue returns (7-2, 2.30) as a junior, while freshmen Jenna Makis (redshirt) and Alexis Cooper join the Sun Devils.
“They’re doing so well,” Escobedo said of the new pitchers. “I am really happy with them. I told them what it is to be a freshman, it’s tough, it’s mentally exhausting, not to get carried away so quickly, get upset, just having confidence, pumping them up, and being able to be there as a mentor for them.”
A member of the U.S. Women’s Junior World Championship team that won the gold medal in South Africa in 2011, Escobedo still hopes to make the senior team.
“My summer, I went to Ohio to try out for the women’s team,” she said. “I didn’t make it, but I was talking to their coaches and everything, and I have confidence in myself that I will be on that team at some point in my life.”
Following the New Mexico game, the Sun Devils have doubleheaders Friday and Saturday that begin at 4:30 and 7 p.m., with a doubleheader Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.