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Why Jessie Fontes Chose Arizona

(Photo by Arizona Athletics)

Southern California native Jessie Fontes was one of the most highly recruited 2020 pitchers in the country. She was ranked No. 18 overall in SA's 2020 Top 100 recruiting ranking, and this fall, she will begin her collegiate playing career at Arizona under head coach Mike Candrea.

Learn about the road Fontes took to Arizona below.

Softball America: Why did you choose to play for the Arizona Wildcats?

Jessie Fontes: The first time I went to the University of Arizona was in eighth grade on a recruiting trip. From that first day, I had always felt like Arizona was my second home. I love Coach Candrea. It all felt so right to me and my family. To get to play for one of the greatest coaches to ever coach the game, to get to play amongst all the nationals championships and All-Americans, to get to play with people who have accomplished everything I want to accomplish, is what I really looked for. It was amazing.

SA: How do you feel about playing for Coach Candrea?

JF: It’s super exciting. I can’t wait to learn from him. With all the athletes he coached and all the things he has accomplished, I’m really looking forward to playing for him and accomplishing everything I can.

SA: What is something you want to improve upon ahead of the 2021 season?

JF: I’m really excited to learn more about the mental aspect of the game. I’m also excited to see their perspective of the game, along with seeing their way of calling pitches. Getting to expand my knowledge from people that have done so well is super exciting too.

SA: What was it like playing travel ball in Southern California?

JF: Playing travel ball has been so much fun and I have memories that will last forever. I have always played with the So Cal Choppers Fausett travel team. They helped me improve my game and helped me when I got recruited. It’s great to play in Southern California because every weekend we would go down to Orange County and play some of the best competition. All that does is get us ready for the next level, which for me will be at Arizona.

SA: How has COVID-19 impacted your softball plans and what have you been doing to stay active in softball?

JF: It’s definitely disappointing that I didn't get to finish my senior year. I’ve been doing workouts from videos sent by Arizona’s trainers. I also work with a pitching coach, Michele Granger, who has been sending me a lot of pitching workouts as well.

SA: Who are some softball players you look up to?

JF: Since I was a kid, I always looked up to Jennie Finch. She is someone I have always wanted to be like. I also really look up to Monica Abbott, and she is exciting to watch too.

SA: Besides softball, what’s something about Arizona you also look forward to?

JF: My teammates and the coaches are such great people. They are going to help me become a better person and get ready for life beyond softball as well. The atmosphere and fan base is amazing. Whenever I go on trips to Arizona, it’s crazy how supportive and how big the fan base is. They are always there and always cheering for the team.

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