Information for this report provided by the Arizona media relations department.
Arizona was the only school to have multiple players drafted in the inaugural college draft Monday held by Athletes Unlimited, and the inclusion of Dejah Mulipola, Jessie Harper and Alyssa Denham increases the number of former Wildcats to 18 drafted by a pro league.
Mulipolia, Harper and Denham will join former Wildcats Taylor McQuillin, Danielle O’Toole and Katiyana Mauga in Rosemont, Ill., for the second season of Athletes Unlimited this summer starting Aug. 28.
O’Toole, Mauga and McQuillin were selected by Athletes Unlimited last summer after their Arizona careers were completed two to four years prior.
Monday’s selections featured 12 college standouts exhausting their eligibility this spring. Those 12 players will join players already under contract.
Athletes Unlimited will also host open tryouts June 25-26 for elite softball players to showcase their skills with the hopes of being invited to compete in Athletes Unlimited’s season, which will run through Sept. 27.
The league held its inaugural season in the Village of Rosemont in 2020 consisting of 30 games with 57 softball players from around the world. The player pool is increasing to 60 this year.
The Athletes Unlimited league plays for six straight weeks and the teams change weekly. The league has a unique scoring system where all players can win or lose points as individuals and as a team.
Mulipola a member of the U.S. Olympic Team and received the Johnny Bench and the NFCA Catcher of the Year honors as the nation’s top backstop as a junior in 2019. Mulipola will finish her career in the Arizona top-10 for career home runs; her 62 homers currently rank ninth in UA history and 14th in Pac-12 history. She is a two-time all-conference and all-region catcher and will finish in the top-five in Arizona history in both career putouts and fielding percentage.
Harper will finish her career in the top four in NCAA history in career home runs (currently 89). She leads all active players in the NCAA in both home runs (89) and RBIs (246). Harper is a two-time All-American at two different positions (1B – 2017, SS – 2019) and has been first-team all-conference and all-region in every season the awards were given out. She also finished first or second in the Pac-12 all four seasons.
Denham has posted a 65-18 record over her five-year career. In four seasons at Arizona, has achieved sub-2.00 ERAs every season, and is currently in the Arizona top-10 for career ERA in the yellow ball era (1994-current). Denham is a two-time all-conference pitcher and has thrown three no-hitters in her career, the first Arizona pitcher to throw multiple no hitters since Kenzie Fowler (2010-14).
The three players are preparing for their senior weekends this week, as the Wildcats will host UCLA for a four-game series beginning on Thursday night at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Bruins have pitcher Rachel Garcia, who was taken No. 1 overall in the Athletes Unlimited draft.
Here is a history of Arizona’s draft selections by pro leagues:
ARIZONA NPF DRAFT HISTORY
1st Round (7th Overall) – Mackenzie Vandergeest (Texas Thunder)
3rd Round (21st Overall) – Wendy Allen (Arizona Heat)
1st Round (2nd Overall) – Jackie Coburn (Arizona Heat)
1st Round (5th Overall) – Alicia Hollowell (Arizona Heat)
1st Round (5th Overall) – Kristie Fox (Chicago Bandits)
1st Round (6th Overall) – Taryne Mowatt (Washington Glory)
2nd Round (6th Overall) – Jenae Leles (Rockford Thunder)
5th Round (17th Overall) – Brigette Del Ponte (Akron Racers)
1st Round (4th Overall) – Estela Piñon (Chicago Bandits)
6th Round (28th Overall) – Hallie Wilson (Usssa Pride)
2nd Round (6th Overall) – Katiyana Mauga (Texas Charge)
2nd Round (8th Overall) – Danielle O’Toole (Chicago Bandits)
2nd Round (9th Overall) – Mo Mercado (USSSA Pride)
4th Round (19th Overall) – Mandie Perez (USSSA Pride)
2nd Round (6th Overall) – Taylor McQuillin (Cleveland Comets)
ATHLETES UNLIMITED DRAFT HISTORY
1st round (3rd Overall) — Taylor McQuillin (Team Pendley)
1st round (4th overall) — Danielle O’Toole (Team Fagan)
10th round — Mandie Perez (Team Pendley)
12th round — Katiyana Mauga (Team Wagner)
Dejah Mulipola (Fourth Pick)
Jessie Harper (Sixth Pick)
Alyssa Denham (11th pick)
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District