Why Maddie Penta Chose Auburn
Auburn's Maddie Penta was one of the nation's most heavily recruited pitchers in the class of 2020. The No. 3 overall recruit in SA's 2020 Top 100 played travel ball for the Pennsylvania Chaos and received 31 full-ride scholarships during her recruiting process.
Get to know more about Penta and her softball journey to Auburn below.
Softball America: How did you get started in softball?
Maddie Penta: I started playing softball when I was about eight years old. I was introduced to the sport through both of my parents, who had played baseball and softball. My mom played Division l softball at the University of Delaware.
SA: When did you start pitching?
MP: I started pitching at the same time I started playing. My mom was a pitcher, so she taught me from way back then. My parents wanted me to play softball because they both knew so much about the sport and could coach me. My mom is still my pitching coach today. She taught me just about everything I know.
SA: When did you realize you wanted to play college softball?
MP: I was pretty young when I decided I wanted to play college softball. I remember being about 10 or 11 years old and watching the Women's College World Series. It was Jackie Traina of the University of Alabama’s senior year and I was her biggest fan. I remember wanting to be just like her. It was because I watched her that I really got into the whole college softball world. I told myself, "I want to be just like Jackie Traina. I want to be able to pitch against the best, be on TV and play in the Women's College World Series."
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SA: How did you get attention from schools like Auburn while living in Maryland?
MP: When I was about 13 years old, I began playing with the top team in my organization, which was still PA Chaos even way back then. I was only in 8th grade playing with seniors in high school who were preparing to go off to college and compete.
At that age, I was so naive and had no clue about the competition I was facing when I went out to PGF with them that year, but in a way, that's what ended up letting me throw so well against much older girls on top-ranked teams. After that summer is when colleges took an interest in me.
I had a sit-down conversation with my coach at the end of the following fall season and he told me that I had 31 full-ride offers from Michigan, Oregon, you name it. During that meeting is when I decided which visits I wanted to take and really thought about what I was looking for in a school.
SA: When did you start to seriously consider Auburn?
MP: Auburn was actually my last visit after Coach Dean made the jump from JMU to Auburn. He had been asking me to visit JMU, but I declined, saying that it was too close to home and not tough enough competition. After he became the head coach at Auburn, he asked me again, and this time I said yes. I went to Auburn and I immediately fell in love. On that visit, after being there for about a day and a half, I made the decision to become an Auburn Tiger.
SA: What made you choose Auburn?
MP: When I went to Auburn, it had everything I wanted and no comprising was needed. It had amazing facilities, dorms, coaching staff, weather, game days and an overall sense of community and togetherness.
SA: What are you most excited about for your next four years at Auburn?
MP: I am just excited to see how good I can get. With hard work and focus, and Coach Dean guiding my way, I'm excited to see just what I can do and how far I can make it in this game because I want to go as far as I can and be a name people recognize. I want to go to the WCWS as many times as I can. I want to break records and create my own. I want it all.