2024 Softball

High school all-star softball makes highly successful return to Southern Arizona

CDO assistant coach Maggie Morales talks with some of the players participating in the 2024 All Sports Tucson/Southern Arizona Softball Umpire Association Senior High School All-Star Game at Arthur Pack (Stephanie van Latum/AllSportsTucson.com)

The last time high school senior softball players in Southern Arizona gathered for an all-star game was three years ago at Sports Park — when today’s seniors were freshmen.

Following COVID-19 in 2020, the effort lost steam gathering top softball players for an all-star event in Tucson.

The high school all-star games for baseball in Southern Arizona continued, however, with Bill Leith of Kino Baseball League organizing the annual event at the Kino Annex Fields.

Southern Arizona has such a hotbed of softball talent (see Salpointe’s six consecutive 4A state titles and 3A schools Sahuarita, Sabino and Empire winning the last seven state titles at that classification).

All-star games had to return.

Behind the effort of Andy Morales of AllSportsTucson.com and John Mertes of the Southern Arizona Softball Umpire Association, the gathering of top senior softball players returned in a grand way to Tucson at Arthur Pack on Monday night.

Almost 90 senior standouts gathered for three separate games, pitting players against eacher in these classifications: 5A/6A, 3A/4A and 1A/2A.

A few hundred fans attended the games including Lute Olson’s granddaughter Julie Brase-Hairgrove and grandson Matt Brase. They were present to cheer on Catalina Foothills’ Madison Hairgrove, Julie’s daughter and Matt’s niece.

Former Arizona players Alicia Hollowell-Dunn, Felecity Willis and Sophia Carroll served as coaches along with Salpointe assistant Alma Mejia-Garcia, CDO assistant Maggie Morales and Mountain View graduate Zaylie Calderon (who completed her career at UTEP this spring).

A player who drew most of the applause was Amphi senior Zoey Hitchcock, who was an inspiration to the Panthers throughout her career. Her exuberance symbolized the love for the game each of the players have who particpated in the event at Arthur Pack.

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