Pima Community College sports

PODCAST: Tucson High grad, Pima All-American Camila Zepeda in situation to prove herself again

Camila Zepeda is in a position once again to overcome those who may doubt her ability on the softball diamond like she has done a few times before with tremendous success.

She said in the latest All Sports Tucson podcast that she has essentially carried a chip on her shoulder since her club softball days.

Early on when she was at Tucson High, she was not provided an opportunity to be an every-day part of the varsity team until her junior season in 2021.

“They basically had told us that there were too many girls,” Zepeda recalled of the situation when she was a freshman. “They had dropped me and her (a friend) down. I mean, it was just kind of like that. I know some of the coaches even before kind of doubted me and I just like always have used that to work through it.”

After batting .488 in 43 at-bats in 16 games for Tucson in 2021, she backed up that promising performance by batting a solid .360 (89 at-bats in 29 games) with six home runs, eight doubles and 31 RBIs as a senior.

“I just kind of used that (early experience at Tucson High) because I know they (coaches) would never say it to me personally, but I know they would like say it to my parents and my parents were telling me,” she said. “I just kind of used that to work more. I wanted to prove them wrong.”

Former Tucson High and Pima standout Camila Zepeda after a recent workout at Jet Sports Training (Javier Morales/AlllSportsTucson.com)

Zepeda’s late breakthrough at Tucson High resulted in minimal college recruitment, creating a situation in which she had to show her worth once again.

Pima College provided her an opportunity and she produced as a freshman in 2023 hitting .411 with 23 doubles, seven home runs and 72 RBIs in 60 games.

But she thought she could be more efficient after striking out 21 times and posting only three stolen bases after recording seven in her senior season at Tucson.

“I wanted to be better since my first year (at Pima in 2023) and it was just like a lot of hard work every day after practice, going to hit on my own,” Zepeda said. “Even when I got into slumps, I was just working out of it, not really like getting into my head but just finding a way out and then just seeing the results on the field.”

Camila Zepeda was Pima softball’s first ACCAC Player of the Year in 14 years (Pima photos)

Zepeda’s work ethic and attention to detail allowed her to have an All-American season for Pima, which advanced to the NJCAA Division I World Series for the first time since 2013 largely behind her bat.

The 5-foot-4 dynamo had a 31-game hitting streak during the season (in which her team had a 26-game winning streak) and finished with a .473 batting average.

She led the Aztecs in at-bats (186), runs (67), doubles (21), home runs (17), RBIs (62), total bases (162) and stolen bases (14). She had an on-base percentage of .500 and a slugging percentage of .871. She struck out only 12 times. She also had 61 put-outs and a fielding percentage of .941 at second base.

In addition to being an NJCAA Division I Second-Team All-American, she was named ACCAC Player of the Year, first team All-ACCAC and to the All-Region I, Division I team. She was Pima softball’s first ACCAC Player of the Year since Jordan Trujillo in 2010.

All this production and Zepeda’s abundance of accolades should translate into an instant quality offer from an established four-year university program, right?

Unfortunately, not the case … yet.

Local high school softball standouts, including former ASU player Yannira Acuna (Salpointe grad) and current Arizona player Krista Martinez (also from Salpointe) in front (Jet Sports Training photo)

Zepeda said she has opportunities to play at the next level in Texas but is still in wait-and-see mode for potential offers. Pima coach Rebekah Quiroz is helping her through the process.

Zepeda is not fretting the situation. She knows the right situation will present itself.

In the meantime, she is undergoing a two-hour training regimen three days a week at Jet Sports Training under facility coach Jose Felix with approximately 20 other local high school and college softball standouts. She is reunited with Jet Sports Training owner Bobby Rodriguez, who was her elementary-school softball coach at Safford K-8.

With only about two months before the 2024-25 school year starts, Zepeda is in a situation in which she feels she must work harder to get the recognition she deserves.

Don’t count her out.

Her challenges in club softball, early during her Tucson High career and when she transitioned from her freshman to her sophomore season at Pima continue to fuel her drive.

“I’m not the type of person to show off a lot,” Zepeda said of responding to those who doubted her before. “I have just worked on my own. The results showed and then this year was one of my best years.”


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 in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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