Walk Down Memory Lane; A Decade at Arrocha Ballpark
LAWRENCE, Kan. – At the conclusion of the 2014 season, Kansas softball will close the doors to its home on campus for the last 10 years, Arrocha Ballpark, and move to a new state-of-the-art facility Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park starting in 2015.
The current Arrocha Ballpark has provided many memories for the KU softball program and its fans over the last decade. Before making new memories and firsts in the new stadium at Rock Chalk Park, here are 10 memories from Arrocha to look back on.
DEBUT GAME: March 6, 2004 vs. Utah
On March 6, 2004, the first pitch was thrown in Arrocha Ballpark as the Jayhawks would break in the new ballpark with a 2-1 victory over the Utah Utes. Not only would the Jayhawks get their first win during Arrocha’s debut, but Melaney Torres blasted a ball over the left field wall in the fifth inning, to record the first home run on the new field. Nettie Fierros’ double proved to be the hit that solidified the victory as pitcher Kara Pierce struck out nine. She surrendered only three hits and limited the Utes’ offense as Arrocha’s rich history would begin.
COACH SMITH’S DEBUT: March 11, 2010 vs. Valparaiso
Arrocha Ballpark welcomed head coach Megan Smith in her debut home game with a 6-5 victory over Valparaiso. Mariah Montgomery contributed to the win by hitting her first collegiate home run and collecting two RBIs against the Crusaders. Kelsey Alsdorf also recorded two RBIs with a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning, the hit that would be the difference maker in the Jayhawks’ triumph. Kansas made the most out of their at-bats clinching the win despite being outhit, 13-6.
First Victory over Ranked Opponent: March 6, 2004 vs. #17 Nebraska
The Jayhawks opened Arrocha with a victory over Utah and continued that momentum into their next game against No. 17 Nebraska. Kansas held the nationally-ranked Huskers scoreless later that evening and shutout Nebraska, 3-0. The Huskers became the first ranked opponent to fall to KU at Arrocha Ballpark. The Jayhawks were relentless both offensively and defensively as pitcher Kassie Humphreys only gave up one hit in seven innings pitched. Kansas came out strong offensively and posted eight hits against Nebraska. Two of Kansas’ three runs came from solo home runs as Sandy Smith and Serena Settlemier both launched them over the outfield wall. Arrocha proved to be a home favorite as the Jayhawks finished opening day with two big wins.
Last Victory over Ranked Opponent: May 5, 2013 vs. #1 Oklahoma
The Jayhawks’ 2013 senior class went out in style with a 2-0 win over No. 1 Oklahoma, which was the first time that Kansas had defeated a No. 1 opponent and capped off a record-breaking season. What better way to do it than in Arrocha Ballpark in front of their home crowd? Chaley Brickey, who went 2-for-3, led the offensive charge by hitting a double in the bottom of the first plating the first run of the game. The Jayhawks gained momentum throughout the duration of the game. In the sixth inning, Brickey would cash in her second hit and score an insurance run on a passed ball, which gave KU a 2-0 lead. The shutout marked Kelsey Kessler’s fifth of the season after scattering seven hits over seven innings and stranding nine OU base runners.
First No-Hitter: April 5, 2005 vs. UMKC
It wasn’t until Kansas’ second season in Arrocha that a Jayhawk hurled a no-hitter. On April 5, 2005, Serena Settlemier became the first KU pitcher to toss a no-hitter at Arrocha. Settlemier and the Jayhawks routed UMKC, 8-0, in the first Arrocha Ballpark no-no. Settlemier pitched six innings and struck out seven. She didn’t give up a walk making the first no-hitter also the first perfect game. Settlemier’s perfect game is only the second in KU history. The Jayhawks took charge at the plate as various players recorded both multi-hit and multi-RBI games in their victory over the ‘Roos.
Last No-Hitter: March 11, 2007 vs. New Mexico
Arrocha saw its last no-hitter on a Sunday afternoon in 2007. Kassie Humphreys tossed the most recent no-no at Arrocha in the Jayhawks’ 4-0 victory over New Mexico. Humphreys proved to be a factor both defensively and offensively for Kansas. In the circle, Humphreys pitched seven innings and struck out eight, while allowing seven walks. Offensively, the Glendale, Arizona, native was 2-for-3 at the plate and collected two RBIs on two hits.
First Big 12 Win: April 3, 2004 vs. Texas Tech
The Jayhawks clinched their first Big 12 victory in Arrocha Ballpark on April 3, 2004 after edging the Red Raiders, 2-1. The game-winning run came in the bottom of the seventh inning from Heather Stanley, who was 2-for-3 at the plate. KU went on to sweep Texas Tech for five consecutive series, three of them in Arrocha. Kanas’ sweep over TTU also marked the first Big 12 series sweep at Arrocha. Pitcher Kara Pierce threw all seven innings and struck out nine batters for the Jayhawks.
Best Home Season: 2008 (16-4)
The Jayhawks went 17-4 at home in 2008 marking their best home season in Arrocha Ballpark. Kansas compiled an 11-1 record in home contests during the non-conference slate in 2008. KU had a 5-3 Big 12 mark at Arrocha in 2008 with wins over Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. The Jayhawks had a seven-game win streak at home after claiming series victories over Bradley, Missouri State and Texas Tech. Texas snapped the winning streak by defeating KU in the final game of the series.
First Tournament Hosted: 2004
Arrocha Ballpark hosted many contests in its opening year, including the season’s first tournament in 2004. Kansas, Utah, Nebraska, and SW Missouri State were all in attendance for the Hampton Inn/Jayhawk Classic. The Jayhawks came out on top winning four of their six games. One of those victories was a 3-0 win over nationally-ranked Nebraska, where Kansas dominated the Huskers from the beginning. KU only gave up a combined six runs during the entire tournament.
Retired Jerseys: April 22, 2006
Kansas softball retired its only two jerseys in program history on April 22, 2006. Though Camille Spitaleri and Sheila Connolly never had the opportunity to play in Arrocha, they were both recognized for their contributions to the program in Arrocha Ballpark prior to the Jayhawks’ game against No. 2 Texas Longhorns. Spitaleri, who wore No. 10, was a three-time All-American who played for KU from 1989-92. She helped the Jayhawks to their first-ever NCAA Women’s College World Series in 1992. Connolly, who wore No. 11, was a two-time All-American for Kansas from 1983, 1985-87. She was recognized for her outstanding offensive play throughout the years. Arrocha hosted a record-breaking crowd that afternoon with 1,217 in attendance.
Kansas will begin practicing in its new facility in the fall of 2014 and play its first game at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park during the 2015 season.
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