The 2020 high school softball season saw Ironwood Ridge and star player Allie Skaggs start at 8-2 with Skaggs leading the way with her .483 batting average.
The season was unfortunately cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bring an end to what could’ve been a magical season for Ironwood Ridge.
It also brought an end to a potential candidate for an Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year honor for Skaggs, who in her first and only season in Tucson after transferring from a high school in Kentucky, smashed the ball all over the park. She had five home runs, 15 RBIs and 14 hits during the short 10-game season.
Now, after signing her letter of intent back in November, Skaggs is three months from attending her dream school, Arizona and playing for legendary coach Mike Candrea.
Here’s a Q&A from the interview that covers Skaggs’ senior season at Ironwood Ridge and takes a look ahead at what awaits her at Arizona.
How was your first and only season in Tucson with Ironwood Ridge?
AS: “Yeah, I got out here around June of last year, and had met a couple of the girls over social media and stuff. Once I got into school they had all already welcomed me, which was really nice and awesome of them.
“Then our season started, which I’m still bummed and can’t really get over the fact that it just got cut off. But, our team was talented. I think we would have made a really good state championship run.
“And so that was that. it really wasn’t something I got to do in Kentucky and so to be around other girls who were that driven and just talented ready to win a championship, I’m so bummed that is over now.”
Was the talent level better her in Tucson than it was in Kentucky?
AS: “I think the best players in Kentucky definitely match with the best players here in Arizona. But I think that the talent was more spread out because of how far apart the counties were and everything like it wasn’t as small as like the Tucson community of softball.
“So I think that a lot of the talent was spread out around the state. So there wasn’t as much of heavy competition up and down in Kentucky as it was here.”
In just 10 games this season it seemed like you were on pace to have possibly your best season in high school, would you agree?
AS: “I think so, I really do. I think most of it comes with the fact that I was automatically welcomed because not a lot of kids transfer their senior year. So I think that it very well could have been a much opposite season if I wasn’t comfortable.
“Just being around that talent and those girls who had already won a state championship last year, and understanding how to compete for one.
“So yeah, if the season would’ve continued it definitely could’ve been one of my best.”
What did you learn from coach David Martinez in just one season of playing for Ironwood Ridge?
AS: “He taught me how to really bond with the younger girls. That’s always something that I’ve tried to get better at and I’ve always done pretty decent, but he really made it a family as well.
“He always was open to me and was willing to have conversations about softball and not softball as well. So I think just being around someone that was always not seen as just a strict coach all the time. He was someone who was open and willing to have those conversations with me, just about life and softball.”
On Twitter you posted a video of you batting from both sides of the plate, is that something your working on?
AS: “I stopped, but I always tried to teach myself how to hit left handed. It feels good on my muscles and stuff to switch things around sometimes so yeah that was for fun.”
Your teammate Devyn will be joining you at Arizona. How would you describe her as a player and what does she bring to a team?
AS: “She’s a gamer, like she’s always intense in the game in the moment. Even if the games are super intense and hard and stuff, and you might just need like a little bit of a laugh or something to ease the tension you go up to her and there’s always that straight face. It’s always I’m going to get everyone out on this mound. And I’m going to do the best that I can all the time.
“So it’s nice to have someone that just looks like she’s always like she’s never not confident. I love playing behind her.”
How would you describe your game in one word?
AS: “Yeah, I would say not flashy, just consistent and just smooth in a way because I like just making routine things. I’m not the person that I guess would draw a ton of eyes from always making these fantastic plays and everything. Which I mean they obviously come but just that I’m solid, I’m someone who can make the plays that are needed and come in clutch when needed.”
How excited are you to get the opportunity to walk out at Rita Hillenbrand and wear that U of A “A”?
AS: “Yeah, it’s still seems like a dream honestly. Especially growing up in Kentucky, like I never really, I just never thought that would have happened. So I still can’t believe in the fact that it’s only three months away. It blows my mind.
“It’s an honor. And I think to even be able to say that I get to put that uniform on and go out there and practice and be around those girls every single day. Like I get to play with all-Americans now. Especially with the seniors coming back like I get to play with Jessie Harper and Malia Martinez and Reyna Carranco, and that’s just, it’s something that not everyone gets to do.”
How would you describe your recruiting class?
AS: “I would say gritty. And we all just, we all get along really well. I think that’s a big thing is that all of our personalities kind of blend.
“So I think it’s and we’re all like willing to learn. We’re all coachable. I think that’s going to be a good thing for us coming in now being under that coaching staff together and behind those girls, I think our class has a chance to be really good.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.