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Breaking down Arizona softball’s 2020 recruiting class

It ranks No. 1 in the country

Photo by Ryan Kelapire

Fresh off their first Women’s College World Series appearance in nine years, Arizona softball inked the No. 1 recruiting class in the country Wednesday.

All eight players received a top-100 ranking, a group that head coach Mike Candrea says are “great additions to what we have, fills some voids for us, but I think we got some really good athletes and some kids that can play at a high level.”

The Wildcats will have to replace star hitters like Jessie Harper, Reyna Carranco, Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, and Malia Martinez after the 2020 season as well as their top two pitchers in Mariah Lopez and Alyssa Denham, so it’s fair to expect some of the 2020 recruits to play right away.

“They’re all very committed to the game, very committed to the classroom, they’re all good students, but the thing we looked at was how competitive they were and what kind of teammate would they be when they got here,” Candrea said.

“Because, for us, our culture is probably the toughest thing to develop. And over the years, I’ve realized that you can have great players, but if you don’t have good culture, it’s tough to win the big games when things get tough, and so that’s the one thing that we’ve taken the pride in the last three or four years. Not only trying to get great athletes, but getting great athletes that fit our needs as far as what type of kid we’re looking forward to represent this program, and I think this class will do a really nice job of that.”

Here’s a look at all eight players along with Candrea’s analysis.

Devyn Netz, P/IF

  • Hometown: Sierra Madre, Calif.
  • High school: Ironwood Ridge (Tucson, Ariz.)
  • Club team: SoCal Athletics
  • Rank: No. 6 by Extra Inning Softball, No. 14 by FloSoftball

Candrea’s take: “Her brother Dawson is a current baseball player here at Arizona. But this kid is a very competitive young lady, works extremely hard. I don’t think there’s a ceiling to her development. She loves to play the game, she works hard at the game, has good tools right now. Played last year, which really impressed me, for the SoCal A’s and they were in the final day of the PGF National Championships, and Devyn really was a kid that I thought put her team on her back, both in the circle and at the plate. So she’s a kid that will hit and also pitch. She’s an outstanding athlete.”

Jasmine Perezchica, OF

  • Hometown: La Quinta, Calif.
  • High school: Palm Desert (Palm Desert, Calif.)
  • Club team: OC Batbusters
  • Rank: No. 10 by Extra Inning Softball, No. 30 by FloSoftball

Candrea’s take: “She plays for the Orange County Batbusters coached by Mike Stith. We’ve had many of their players and all of them have done quite well at this level, so I feel very good about this kid and what she’s going to bring to our program. She’s your typical leadoff hitter. Great tools, great bat control, above-average speed, very competitive. And the thing I’ve always liked about her she’s been hanging around the baseball locker room for many years Her dad, Tony Perezchica, is the third base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. So she comes with a really good knowledge of the game, but just another great human being that’s high character that’s going to fit into this program and I think has a chance of being a really good player.”

Carlie Scupin, IF

  • Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.
  • High school: Tucson High (Tucson, Ariz.)
  • Club team: Oro Valley Sun Cats
  • Rank: No. 21 by FloSoftball

Candrea’s take: “She was the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019. Great power and definitely the highest bat speed I’ve ever seen. The last three years, she’s hit 41 home runs in high school... I think this young lady is just fun to watch. She’s a great teammate, loves to play the game, plays it hard. Her ceiling is very high. At this level, being able to make adjustments to better pitching more frequently is very important, but the thing I like about her she’s got power to the opposite field. The easiest thing is to be able to teach her how to pull a ball, so I think she’s going to be a great addition to Arizona softball for many years.”

Allie Skaggs, UT

  • Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
  • High school: Ironwood Ridge (Tucson, Ariz.)
  • Club team: SoCal A’s
  • Rank: No. 13 by Extra Inning Softball, No. 89 by FloSoftball

Candrea’s take: “Allie’s an interesting young lady. I started watching her a couple of summers ago and she was living in Kentucky. Her parents just moved to Tucson. She’s going to be attending Ironwood Ridge High School, so she’ll be a teammate of Devyn. And in the summer she’s playing for the So Cal Athletics, coached by Bruce Richardson. But Allie was the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year. She’s a middle infielder, can hit for average, hit with power. My biggest goal for her right now is to increase her arm strength, which will help her be able to play more positions. Right now, I’m kind of looking at her as a second baseman. But another outstanding young player that loves to play the game and I think that’s the ultimate theme of this group.”

Jessie Fontes, P

  • Hometown: Fillmore, Calif.
  • High school: Adolfo Camarillo (Camarillo, Calif.)
  • Club team: SoCal Choppers
  • Rank: No. 24 by Extra Inning Softball, No. 54 by FloSoftball

Candrea’s take: “She plays for the SoCal Choppers, coached by Dean Faucet. And the reason why I mentioned him is because I’ve known Dean for a long time and really believe in what they do. But this is where Jessie Harper came from, so I know that when they give me information it’s going to be above board and usually they’re pretty right on with people and they have nothing to say but great things about Jess. I think she’s one of the top pitchers in this class, has had success at every level. Great command and great presence on the mound. Very highly competitive and the thing I like about her she’s got a really high softball IQ. I think she’s a kid that will make adjustments will get better and better.”

Giulia Koutsoyanopulos, UT

  • Hometown: Mission Viejo, Calif.
  • High school: Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
  • Club team: OC Batbusters
  • Rank: No. 43 by Extra Inning Softball

Candrea’s take: “Better to just call her G. She goes by G and she signed early with us, committed early with us. Outstanding player for the Orange County Batbusters, another one of those pedigrees. A right-handed hitter and a left-handed thrower, so I’m trying to find out why the parents did that. But great, great defensive skills. This kid plays a tremendous first base, quick as a cat, handles a glove well, gets rid of the ball well, and I think the thing for her with her ceiling is going to be her ability to develop a little more offensively. But she’s a kid that’s got a great work ethic. great teammate, loves to play the game. You can see it all over her face when she takes the field. And she was just recently named to the Italian junior national softball team, so that’s kind of exciting and she’s going to be another really good one for us when she gets to Arizona.”

Aris Carroll, IF

  • Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.
  • High school: Shadow Ridge (Phoenix, Ariz.)
  • Club team: Firecrackers-AZ
  • Rank: No. 83 by Extra Inning Softball

Candrea’s take: “Aris is a corner (infielder), primarily a third baseman. And I think Aris has a lot of potential that she hasn’t quite reached yet. I think many times that I’ve watched her, we need her to catch up to the speed of the game, but I think she will because she’s got a great work ethic. But outstanding young lady and very mature for age, and I think will represent this program quite well.”

Sophia Carroll, IF

  • Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.
  • High school: Shadow Ridge (Phoenix, Ariz.)
  • Club team: Firecrackers-AZ
  • Rank: No. 12 by Extra Inning Softball, No. 35 by FloSoftball

Candrea’s take: “Sophia is a power-hitting shortstop. Big, young lady, moves very well for her size. Quick hands, quick release, but her power is in the Scupin area. She can hit the ball a long way and I’ve just been really impressed with her ability to do that throughout every level that she’s played. And I think this young lady’s got a chance of being a really good player at this level.

“Both of the twins, I will say are very mature for their age. When you get a chance to meet them, they’re going to look in the eye, they’re going to have a great conversation with you. But I think two outstanding young kids that their parents have done a really nice job getting to this point because they were homeschooled for a while,and then have just gone into public school. And so I think both of them will do a great job in the classroom as well as on the field.”