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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona softball’s Trish Parks has burst onto the softball scene with a bang

Tanner Clinch

Arizona softball pitcher Trish Parks (24) swings at a pitch during Arizona’s 9-1 victory over San Jose State on Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Parks has contributed on both the mound and at the plate early on in her freshman season.

If Trish Parks’ first game in an Arizona softball uniform was made into a script, movie producers would turn it away for sounding too fanciful.  

For a freshman to hit a two-run homer on the first pitch of her collegiate career is already something out of a Disney movie. For her to close out the same game on the mound, pitching two hitless innings, that’s borderline preposterous. 

Yet, that’s exactly how Parks introduced herself to the Hillenbrand Stadium crowd in the first game of the season, a game that ended in a resounding 12-2 win over Oklahoma State. And that opening day performance was no fluke. 

The dual hitter-pitcher has helped lead the Wildcats to a 9-0 record with dominating performances on the diamond and at the plate. 

Parks boasts a 0.54 ERA with 12 strikeouts in six pitching appearances. All the while, she is batting .391 with four homers. One towering shot last weekend went over the left field bleachers. 

“I don’t know,” Parks said modestly. “I didn’t look at it.” 

Other people, however, have been looking. The Pac-12 Conference bestowed Freshman of the Week honors to Parks on Monday for the second-consecutive time.

For Parks, the remarkable start is not something that can be captured in a press release. She’s dreamt of this nearly her entire life. 

By the early age of 3, the Chino, Calif., native was already out on the softball field, following after her cousins. 

“I would be like, ‘Well if you’re going to play, then I’m going to play, too,” Parks said. “While they’re playing, I’m going to pitch.” 

At Chino Hills High School, Parks was named first-team all-conference for all four years, and she was a second-team All-American in her senior year. 

Parks had long known where she was going to play softball in college by then. She committed to Arizona as a sophomore. 

“When I was a little girl, I remember watching UCLA vs. Arizona in the World Series,” Parks said. “I always was, like, ‘Oh man, I want to go to Arizona.’ I never wanted to go to school in-state, so when I got the chance to come here, I jumped on it right away.” 

The chance to play in warm weather year-round and learn from Mike Candrea, one of the most respected coaches in softball, was too much to pass up, she said.

“It’s crazy to think how much he’s taught me in such a little amount of time,” Parks said. “He helps me literally with everything, and it feels good knowing there’s someone I can always go to.”

Parks, after all, is still a freshman. While it’s taken her almost no time to adjust to the collegiate level of softball, adjusting to college as a whole has been a little different. 

Of course it helps to have the support of teammates, especially when it comes to academics. 

“A lot of the older girls will help me with homework,” Parks said. “Like if I’m struggling, they’ll say, ‘Oh, I took this class before, so let me try to explain it to you.’”

As the No. 13 Wildcats enter the heart of nonconference play this weekend with a road trip to the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., managing softball, school and everything else will take a different shape. 

When Parks needs to find her place of peace, she won’t have to look far. The mound and batter’s box are both eagerly awaiting whatever she brings next.


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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