A. I started playing baseball with the neighborhood boys when I was six. We played at a local park almost every day and I was the only girl. I moved on to softball when I was 8 years old. I played rec ball briefly and then moved up to club. I was a right handed hitter but then switched over to be a lefty slapper because of my speed. I have been fortunate enough to have played with some of the best players and coaches here in Arizona and was introduced to the highest levels of the game in my age groups.
Last year I was recruited by a California team called the So Cal Athletics. The team has a history of winning the biggest tournaments nationally and getting kids recruited to the best softball programs in the country. This team has really opened up an opportunity for me with recruiting for colleges and becoming a better player on the field. The coaches know exactly what they’re talking about and help each player so much. The girls are all so good and work so hard they push you to be better.
Q. What grade are you going into this upcoming year?
A. I am going into 10th grade to become a sophomore. I love my school, it has made me a better person and student. The workload is a lot, especially for student athletes; however, I have no doubt in my mind that this school will prepare me for college and make college seem less scary. I am looking forward to seeing my friends again and I really enjoy learning new things. I also like the sports teams there. I am a starter on the varsity basketball team. I also plan on joining the swim team. I pitch and play shortstop for the school softball team. Everyone is such a good teammate and friend. School softball is definitely more relaxed than club but the people around you make it enjoyable.
Q. You just committed to play softball at UM tell us about that?
A. It still hasn’t really hit me that I’m going to the University of Michigan. I began watching Coach Hutch and the Michigan softball team when I was about 10. I have always wanted to go there. The thought of me wearing maize and blue and representing that block M really pushed me to become serious about softball. I went to my first camp in June of last year. When I saw Alumni Field (the softball field) I fell in love. I remember telling my dad, “This is where I’m going to play.” Again, that pushed me to work harder. I met with Coach Hutch and I was kind of in shock to be honest. I just kept thinking that, “Oh my gosh, I’ve seen you on tv!!” I got a tour of the campus on my unofficial a couple months later in September. We saw the campus and it was beautiful. I imagined myself walking to classes with my classmates, it just felt perfect. Then I had another winter camp in January. The camps are for the coaches to see if I am developing like they want and how I should be, if I am getting bigger, faster, and stronger. The camp that I went to in June was the trip that Coach Hutch said, “We want you to be a wolverine.” I cannot explain to you what I was feeling at the moment because those were words that I have dreamt of since I was 8. She said that she needed to speak with the scholarship office about the details, but she told us to call after the Sparkler (big tournament in Colorado that my team won). On that call, she told me and my dad officially that I’m going to be a Wolverine. Afterwards my dad and I just hugged and I cried. Definitely tears of joy, but I have been working for this moment my whole softball career. Every practice, swing, ground ball, 6:00 am gym session, etc. was/is meant for me to be better to play for Michigan. In that moment there was this “you did it,” and it was the best feeling. I’m sure going to Michigan will be the best feeling, but at the moment me verbally committing is it for sure. I feel very lucky and will never take it for granted.
Q. What is the number one thing you will miss about AZ?
A. Well, it is really cold in Michigan so I will miss the heat, haha! But in all seriousness I will miss my family. Four years is a long time. My dad and I are basically inseparable when it comes to softball. My mom supports me fully. My little sister is my whole world. She will be starting school when I leave for college which is crazy to think about. I will be really sad leaving them. But I am excited to make new memories and experience new things.
Q. What will you be majoring in?
A. I am not sure what I will be majoring in. I love kids, so I want to do something involved with kids. A teacher has been up there for me. But I also want to coach a team and do lessons when I am done with my softball career.
Q. Tell us one thing you did that was exciting this summer?
A. Staying in California with my team is mostly what I have done this summer. It’s also allowed me to take advantage of being close to the beach and so many fun things. But the focus has been softball. My team is on a good run right now. We just won a huge tournament in Colorado. Over 230 teams competed and we won the 14u Power Pool. It was an amazing experience. At the moment I am anxious for the end of July because we are competing for a National Championship, and I have a really good feeling. Winning the whole thing would be an amazing way to close out an amazing summer.
Audrey is a Sophomore at Phoenix Country Day School.