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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Mauga: Destined for softball stardom, ready to make splash in UA record books

Jesus Barrera

Arizona outfielder Katiyana Mauga (34) connects with the ball while playing Pima at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 1. Mauga blasted three home runs during the weekend’s Arizona Invitational, bringing her season total to six.

Katiyana Mauga knew at a young age that she was exceptional at her sport. But it wasn’t softball. It was baseball.

Mauga started playing baseball at age 5, where she excelled so much at the sport that she wanted to continue playing baseball for years to come. Her parents, however, knew it would be difficult for a girl, regardless of how good she was, to compete with men as they started physically maturing.

“My parents told me ‘no’ because the guys would get stronger, taller and bigger than me,” Mauga said. “So they put me in softball.”

Mauga had no issue transitioning from baseball to softball.

Her parents proved to have made the right decision as the San Diego native was a four-year letter winner and was named all-state and first-team all-conference at her high school, thus attracting the attention of the prestigious softball program at the UA.

The junior outfielder has had two sensational seasons with the Wildcats, collecting numerous accolades along the way.

Mauga hit .363 with 20 homeruns and 58 RBIs in her first year as a Wildcat. Her 20 homeruns were one short of tying the Arizona freshmen record, which was set by Brigette Del Ponte in 2010. Mauga would go on to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, be named to the first-team all-Pac-12 and become an NFCA Freshman of the Year finalist.

As if her first year at Arizona wasn’t impressive enough, her sophomore campaign was even better. Mauga put up monster numbers, hitting .350 with 26 homeruns and 76 RBIs. Her 26 moon shots were good for third most in the country, most in the Pac-12 Conference and the most in program history since Stacie Chambers’ 31 homers in 2009.

The star-studded outfielder earned even more honors a season ago when she was named third-team NFCA All-American, second-team All-Pac-12 and made the USA Softball Player of the Year watch list.

Still, Mauga has her sights set even higher.

“My goal is to be first-team All-American these next two years,” Mauga said.

After two astounding seasons at Arizona, Mauga’s goal is certainly within reach. The slugger has even found success in the classroom as she received a Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention last season.

Mauga has credited a lot of her success to her legendary Arizona head coach Mike Candrea, who has taught her keys to success both on and off the field.

“I learned to take it day-by-day, not bring my personal business on the field and to stay focused,” Mauga said.

She knows softball comes naturally to her, but at the same time, Mauga knows she wouldn’t be where she is without hard work.

“You always have to put a large amount of work in to get really good,” Mauga said. “I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and [improve] every day.”

Keep an eye on the headlines and look for Mauga to make a splash in the record books in her attempt to lead Arizona to success in the upcoming 2015-2016 season.

Follow Ross Olson on Twitter.

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