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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball adds talent to roster ahead of fall ball

Allie+Skaggs%2C+second+baseman+of+the+Arizona+softball+team%2C+starts+to+get+lifted+into+the+air+after+a+walk-off+grand+slam+to+end+a+play-in+game+against+Pac-12+rival+ASU.+Arizona+won+the+game+13-4+in+five+innings+run-ruling+ASU+during+the+first+ever+Pac-12+softball+tournament.+
Nathanial Stenchever
Allie Skaggs, second baseman of the Arizona softball team, starts to get lifted into the air after a walk-off grand slam to end a play-in game against Pac-12 rival ASU. Arizona won the game 13-4 in five innings run-ruling ASU during the first ever Pac-12 softball tournament.

The Arizona softball team ended its 2023 season at 29-25 and 18-6 in Pac-12 play. The Wildcats lost the last game of the season at home in the first ever Pac-12 softball tournament against No. 1 seed and No. 2 ranked UCLA

While three players have graduated since then, six players joined the Wildcats, including one graduate transfer from the University of Kentucky

Among the players that graduated were Ali Ashner, who played in the outfield, Brianna Hardy — who was only on the Wildcats team for one season as a pitcher — and Izzy Pacho, who played catcher for the Wildcats for several seasons. Another loss to the team was starting shortstop Sophia Carroll, who left the team mid-season

Along with the graduates, Arizona also replaced its pitching coach in the offseason with an assistant pitching coach and hired a new hitting coach.

The new hitting coach, Josh Bloomer, left the University of South Carolina to come to Arizona after being a part of the program that made it to the regional round of the NCAA softball tournament

“A proven winner, Josh [Bloomer] has truly enhanced every program he’s been a part of. His energy and passion for this game is infectious and I’m excited to see him add another dimension to our dynamic offense,” said head coach Caitlin Lowe

Arizona’s other new coach, Christian Conrad, was hired as a pitching coach after three seasons at Loyola Marymount University as the head pitching coach for the Lions

“He is passionate about the development of his pitching staff and the use of cutting-edge analytics and technology that have become difference-makers in our sport. A true student of the game and energetic recruiter, Christian [Conrad] will make an immediate impact on our program’s quest to win our next national championship,” Lowe said. 

Ryan Maddox, Brooke Mannon and Miranda Stoddard are the three new pitchers Arizona added to its roster this year. 

Maddox is a 5-foot-3 freshman from Clovis North High School in Fresno, California. She was ranked the No. 6 recruit nationally by Extra Inning Softball. She was also named the 2023 California Gatorade Player of the Year and was a three-time Tri-River Athletic Conference player of the year

Maddox chose Arizona because, “the people and environment made it feel like home.” 

“I also want to play for a winning and competitive program,” Maddox said.

Mannon is a 5-foot-11 freshman from West Jefferson High School in West Jefferson, Ohio. Mannon was ranked the No. 17 recruit nationally by Extra Inning Softball. She also was named the 2023 Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year

“I want to play softball at the highest level possible, on the most competitive team,” Mannon said about her choice to play for Arizona. “I love the atmosphere that the team and coaches have created.”

Originally from Anaheim, California, Stoddard is a 5-foot-10 graduate transfer who spent three seasons playing for Kentucky. Stoddard also plays infield, as she saw time as third baseman when she played for Kentucky

Arizona also recruited three position players to help the Wildcat team

Emily Schepp is a 5-foot-5 freshman catcher and utility player from Torrance High School in Torrance, California. She played for the OC Batbusters Stith softball team, which won the 2023 Alliance National Championship, and she was also named the 2023 Pioneer League Most Outstanding Player

“I could see myself fitting into the softball program perfectly,” Schepp said on choosing Arizona. “I loved the atmosphere.”

Zaedi Tagalog is a 5-foot-4 freshman outfielder from Canyon del Oro High School in Tucson. She was named the 2023 MVP for Canyon del Oro and was the 2022 Canyon del Oro High School Batting Champion.

“I get to stay close to home and my family will be able to attend more games,” Tagalog said about why she chose Arizona. “I love the weather in Arizona and have dreamt of playing for [the University of] Arizona since I was a little girl.”

The final new addition to the Arizona softball team is Regan Shockey, a 5-foot-7 freshman utility player from Chino Hills High School from Chino Hills, California. Shockey was ranked the No. 18 recruit nationally by Extra Inning Softball. She was a 2022 Division 1 All-CIF selection.

“I wanted to be a part of a legacy,” Shockey said about her choice to play for the Wildcats. “Arizona is known for its great softball program and an amazing stadium atmosphere. I wanted to be part of the culture of the University of Arizona and be a Wildcat.”

Arizona starts its fall season Friday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. against Central Arizona College at Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. Arizona will then play a doubleheader on Friday, Oct. 13, against Phoenix College at 5 p.m. and Eastern Arizona College at 7 p.m. at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.


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