For many girls in the Tucson high school softball community, going to Arizona and playing for legendary coach Mike Candrea is a dream that they’ve had since the time they could swing a bat.
That dream has become a reality for Tucson High product Carlie Scupin, who has wanted to wear the Arizona uniform for as long as she can remember.
Only a small percentage of high school softball players get to achieve their dream of playing at the collegiate level. An even smaller percentage of those players get to play at a program like Arizona.
Scupin has been committed to Arizona since she was a 14 and now she is just months away from getting to step on the field at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium as part of the Arizona family.
Taking a look back at Scupin’s high school career that was cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she established herself as one of the most dangerous sluggers that Arizona has produced, ending her career with 46 home runs.
Here’s a list of players with 30 or more home runs since 2010:
1. Tylor Gill, Santa Cruz: 51 HR
2. Carlie Scupin, Tucson: 46 HR
3. Emily Darwin, Benson: 42 HR
4. Katie Faulk, Marana: 41 HR
5. Alyssa Cuellar, San Manuel: 33 HR
6T. Kristiana Watson, Amphitheater: 31 HR
6T. Alexis Kaiser, Canyon del Oro: 31 HR
7T. Kelsey Smith, Empire: 30 HR
7T. Izzy Pacho, Ironwood Ridge: 30 HR
7T. Ellessa Bonstrom, Canyon del Oro: 30 HR
With just 12-games played this season, the question centers around how many home runs Scupin could’ve hit in her high school career.
One thing is certain, Arizona is getting a player with a lot of power that could be put at first base solving its first base issue with the departure of former starter Ivy Davis.
Here’s a Q&A from an interview that covers Scupin’s high school career at Tucson High and takes a look ahead to her freshman season at Arizona.
What are your thoughts on the shortened high school season?
CS: “We definitely started off kind of slow but I think we were just getting it together, really because it’s kind of a new team. We had a lot of younger players. I think when the season ended is when the point of us becoming a team and starting to get on a little bit of a winning streak. It’s unfortunate that it had to end right there but I think we were just getting it together then.”
What did you learn about yourself from this past season that could help you moving forward?
CS: “I would say that it’s all about team because I feel like in the beginning of the year, we might have been playing for different reasons, but once we come together as a team, that’s when we’re most successful. So team, I guess would be the biggest lesson.”
After committing to Arizona at the age of 14, can you believe that you’re already at this moment where your months away from going to college at Arizona?
CS: “I know it came fast, but also slow at the same time. Some parts of it fast, some parts of it slow, but I guess now it’s just coming so fast because of the season getting canceled and its just kind of flying by now.”
What are some of your favorite memories throughout your high school career at Tucson High?
CS: “I think my favorite memories would just be playing in the state playoffs, there’s nothing more exciting than that because you work so hard to get to the playoffs and then being at Cherry Field every other night and trying to win state or make it to state is super exciting. That would definitely be my best memory. There’s so many little memories within like driving up to state and playoffs and all that stuff. So definitely just the state playoff atmosphere.”
What are you going to miss most about high school softball?
CS: “What I’ll miss most about high school softball would just be that it’s different than club. In club, some of those girls are my best friends but I don’t go to school with them. I play with all the girls that I go to school with and I have good friends at school and being able to play softball with them is completely different than just playing with teammates.
“I guess I’m missing out on playing my last year with my friends. And there’s actually a group of seniors. I think we had seven seniors this year but only four of us have been on varsity since we were freshmen. We played all four years together. Now it’s over but I guess just missing out playing with all of the seniors and everyone else.”
During your time at Tucson High what is something you learned from coach Bert Otero?
CS: “I guess, Coach just preaches team, like he’s all about team and not so much about the talent you have on your team. It’s just more about being a team especially in high school ball because the most talented team doesn’t always win. It’s just about being a team and winning together and that’s why he preaches team.”
What should Arizona fans watch for in your playing style?
CS: “I mean I’m just gonna go out there and work as hard as I can and try to find my way on the field any way I can. I don’t know if there’s a specific aspect of my game that someone should look for but I guess just competing to find a spot in the lineup.”
What’s something your working on this off-season to prepare yourself for playing at Arizona?
CS: “I’m just trying to fine tune. Obviously, I have a lot of girls that I used to play with that are at the U of A. Just talking to them, just knowing what to expect so I can be as ready as possible from Day One.”
If you had to choose one word to describe yourself, what would that be?
CS: “I would say competitive. I guess, in athletics, everyone is competitive. That’s what makes players good is being competitive. I would say that I just like to compete.”
How would your describe your recruiting class?
CS: “Yeah, so our recruiting class we’re pretty tight because most of us before the rule change had already committed. So we’ve all known what was coming up for years now. We’ve all been in contact. We all play on a competitive club team.”
What’s going to be going through your head when you finally get that chance to step on the field at Rita Hillenbrand as part of the Arizona softball team?
CS: “Yeah, so Arizona has always been my number one dream school. I wanted to go there forever, since I’ve been watching them at Hillenbrand for years and it’s just my dream school for sure.
“There’s so much tradition at the U of A. So I’m excited to be a part of that. Plus, the seniors are coming back and those are the girls that I thought I would never get to play with. I’ve always watched them on television and I’ve watched them at games . Getting to be on the same field with them will be awesome. I’m very excited.”