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All-American catcher Dejah Mulipola to play for Arizona softball in 2021

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: FEB 18 USA at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The rich just got richer.

Senior catcher Dejah Mulipola will play for Arizona softball in 2021 instead of training with Team USA, it was announced Thursday.

Mulipola becomes the seventh senior to announce her return to the Wildcats in 2021, further loading an already stacked roster that is also adding the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class and will surely be a preseason top-5 team.

The Garden Grove, California native was a first-team All-American and Johnny Bench Award winner in 2019 when she hit .311 with 23 home runs while playing stellar defense on Arizona’s run to the Women’s College World Series.

Mulipola redshirted the shortened 2020 season to tour with Team USA—including a stop in Tucson—but the organization decided it was in the best interest of Mulipola and UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles to allow them to compete at the collegiate level in 2021.

“It’s such a blessing that I not only get to return this upcoming year to play my last season with some of my best friends, but also that I get to train for the 2021 Olympics in addition to it all,” Mulipola said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to being back in Tucson and I’m excited for my senior year with the best coaching staff and fans in the world.”

Once the 2021 season concludes, Mulipola will rejoin Team USA as it heads to Tokyo for the 2021 Summer Olympics, which were originally scheduled for 2020 but were postponed by the coronavirus crisis.

“We are very excited to have Dejah back for the upcoming year,” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said in a statement. “She means so much to our program and she will add her Team USA experience to provide leadership and allow her to finish her college career with her senior class.”

Freshman Sharlize Palacios was Arizona’s primary catcher in 2020 and hit a respectable .324 with a homer and seven RBI. But with Mulipola back in the fold, Arizona’s lineup could look something like this in 2021:

  • C: Dejah Mulipola
  • 1B: Carlie Scupin
  • 2B: Reyna Carranco
  • 3B: Malia Martinez
  • SS: Jessie Harper
  • LF: Peanut Martinez
  • CF: Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza
  • RF: Bella Dayton
  • DP: Sharlize Palacios/Hanah Bowen/Janelle Meono/Izzy Pacho/one of the many incoming freshmen
  • P: Mariah Lopez, Alyssa Denham

Is it February yet?