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Arizona's Allie Skaggs Can Do It All For The Wildcats

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(Photo courtesy of University of Arizona Athletics)

During her freshman year playing at the University of Arizona in 2021, Allie Skaggs had to jump into an important leadership position.

After standout second baseman Reyna Carranco went down with a broken hand, then-head coach Mike Candrea needed the next suitable player to step up. As a utility player, Skaggs was ready.

“It was something that was always in the back of my head, practice as if someone goes down and be ready,” Skaggs said. “When Reyna did unfortunately go down, I knew that Coach trusted me to be the immediate next one to go in.”

The ability to play any position at any given moment is what Skaggs prides herself on. Starting from a young age, she made it a priority to not only be talented in the infield, but also in the outfield.

“If someone asks what position you play, don’t say ‘I play shortstop’, say ‘I play anywhere,’” Skaggs said. “Play as many positions as you can. If Coach (Caitlin Lowe) told me tomorrow, ‘you’re going to be in right field this entire weekend,’ I would trust myself because I know I am athletic enough to do it.”

Being clutch at the plate is equally as important to Skaggs, and she wants to be dependable in all aspects of the game. Hitting .255 last season with five home runs and 11 RBIs, she has worked to become stronger this year to ensure she can get on base as much as possible for the Wildcats.

And this year she has taken her game to the next level. Currently batting .378 with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs for Arizona, Skaggs has continued to step up for her team this season.

“It is super important to be strong at the plate because, as a utility player, coaches know that if you swing the bat well, you are going to be in the field,” Skaggs said. “Now that I am here and I am getting stronger, I can hit the ball hard.”

Stepping up to Carranco’s level wasn’t easy last year, and Skaggs had big shoes to fill. After playing at second base for 16 games in 2021, Skaggs proved her abilities to Arizona’s coaching staff, allowing her to come back for her sophomore year at a starting position.

“The experience of that allowed me to build trust with the coaching staff,” Skaggs said. “When I came back, they knew I was ready to step into that spot as a starter this year. Learning from Reyna the whole year was a great thing because I practiced behind her every day, so I knew I had to step up my own game and be able to play at her level too.”

The transition from freshman to sophomore year for Skaggs was quite simple, considering she built so much confidence in 2021 and was ready to take her game to another level. She knew what her year was going to look like and how to make the most of a season of playing more innings than she had before.

“It was honestly so nice knowing what to expect,” Skaggs said. “Overall, I know how to bring my energy every single day. It can get really tiring just because we (play and practice) so much. As a freshman, I probably went really hard and over the top just because I didn’t know how to conserve during a long season.”

Now that Skaggs has found her place, she is comfortable and wants to be the teammate that everyone can turn to for support. Being a leader through a vocal and physical sense is something she picked up from upperclassmen and hopes to continue that guidance throughout her career with the Wildcats.

“I have always been a very vocal person,” Skaggs said. “I can command a group and that is one thing I did even as a freshman, I was very loud. I was trying to command the infield even when I was playing with Malia Martinez, Jessie Harper, Dejah Mulipola, all those seniors that are known for being leaders.”

With a strong group of eight sophomores this year, Skaggs believes her class, along with Olympian Caitlin Lowe taking over as the program's head coach, will have Arizona as a contender going forward.

“I would love to get our team back to the World Series,” Skaggs said. “I think we can win it. When things start clicking, it is going to be fun to watch.”

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