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UT Softball Stars Look for Repeat of Winning Season

Published: April 08, 2009
A single win was all that separated the University of Tampa softball team from a chance to participate in the NCAA II national tournament last year. After seven scoreless innings against Barry University in the regional championship, two runs by the opposing team cut short the Spartans’ run.

This year, two of the team’s star players, pitcher Deanne Henriott , and second-baseman Ashley Arcuri , say the team is eager to repeat their performance, and perhaps go even further. 

“I think our team this year has a great chance of going to regionals,” Henriott said. “We are defensively and offensively strong. I really think we have a chance to go far in our season.”

Henriott leads the team as the pitcher who set a stunning record of 251 strikeouts last season. As a freshman, she set the record for the most strikeouts in a single game, which she has already eclipsed with 18 this season, and became the first freshman to throw a no-hitter.

A sophomore, Henriott originally planned to get a degree in nursing, but switched to a major in elementary education after her freshman year. A St. Petersburg, FL, native, she chose to attend UT because of its proximity to her home and small class sizes.

Fate and family were what led Arcuri, a senior, to UT after playing for the softball team at Auburn University her freshman and sophomore years. The star hitter and second-base player originally had plans to transfer to the University of Central Florida, when an accident aboard a flight she took to the Bahamas made her decide to stay near her family in Tampa. An engine of the small plane in which Arcuri was flying caught fire during the middle of the flight, forcing an emergency landing.

“That was when I realized my priorities, which are to be with my family,” Arcuri said. “Life is short, and I decided to come to UT instead because I have the best of both worlds – my family in town and still playing softball.”

Arcuri led the team at the plate with a .336 batting average and a total of 51 hits. A sport management major, she has worked part-time as a hitting coach for youth softball players – a job she hopes to do full-time upon graduation. She has also completed an internship in sports marketing through the UT athletics department doing promotions for various athletic events.

Along with Henriott, Arcuri was named an all-Sunshine State Conference player in the 2008 season following the team’s impressive performance.

“This season we are taking care of business for the most part,” Arcuri said. “We have some really tough games coming up, but we are working hard at practice and expect to play to our potential. I believe we have the best team, player for player, in the nation.”

The Spartans (currently 24-6, 11-2 SSC) play Barry and Rollins back-to-back April 9-19 before finishing the regular season with Florida Southern. After that, they intend to compete in the NCAA South Regional on May 9.

For more information on UT softball, including game schedules and statistics, visit the UT Athletics Web site