Arizona softball: Contact lenses have funny look but give Schutzler better looks

2011-03-17T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:16:24Z Arizona softball: Contact lenses have funny look but give Schutzler better looksPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 17, 2011 12:00 am  • 

When the Arizona Wildcats' softball games end, Lauren Schutzler is quick to take out her contact lenses before signing autographs for kids.

"I don't want people to be all weirded out," she said.

The center fielder's pupils just seem, well, too big when she wears the Nike-made contact lenses. Not a prescription, the lenses instead adjust the light to make it easier for Schutzler to see the ball.

As the Wildcats prepare to start the Judi Garman Classic today in Fullerton, Calif., here's why Schutzler wears the lenses:

• Her coach suggested it. About a month ago, Mike Candrea brought them to practice for backup first baseman Alicia Banks to try. Candrea used the lenses while coaching USA Softball in the 2008 Olympics.

Schutzler pressed for a pair of the contacts, which filter out certain wavelengths of light and make the bright yellow ball stand out.

"Under artificial light, everything looks really yellow," she said. "It kinda looks like if you adjust a picture to a sepia tone.

"Green and certain colors really stick out. The ball seems a little brighter, a little more defined."

• It's part of her job. A left-hander who often slap-hits, Schutzler sees a lot of outside pitches.

Striding toward the pitcher, she has to decide - quickly - whether to offer at the pitch.

"I'm able to track it deeper in the zone," she said. "It's hard to tell the difference between (a strike and a ball). It's really about managing the outside pitch."

• It's worth the looks. Schutzler has worn them to most practices, and in most games, over the past month. She has daytime lenses, and the UA has put in an order for an amber night-time pair.

Schutzler has received only one funny look on the basepaths; an opponent looked in her eye for a split-second too long.

The senior says, happily, that her parents think the lenses look cool. She thinks the enlarged pupil "makes it look like I'm moping, like I'm sad."

Or, she joked, worse.

"Possessed," she said, laughing.

JUDI GARMAN CLASSIC

Where: Fullerton, Calif.

Today: Arizona vs. Oklahoma, 3:30 p.m.; vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 7:30 p.m.

Friday: vs. Michigan, 1 p.m.

Saturday: vs. DePaul, 11 a.m.; vs. San Jose State, 3:30 p.m.

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