Marissa Schuld pitched her Pinnacle High School softball team to a state title this season, finally getting over the hump after two years in the circle when the Pioneers lost the championship game to Hamilton High both seasons.
The 4-0 victory over Hamilton on the third try also set a historical marker for the north Phoenix school. It was the school’s first-ever state softball championship.
With all that already accomplished, what else was there to achieve before she began packing for Tucson, where she will join the University of Arizona program next year?
How about another Gatorade Arizona Softball Player of the Year award?
For the second straight year, Schuld was selected as the Gatorade state POY after a senior season that finished with an 11-1 record and a blistering 0.74 ERA. She worked 76 innings over the 12 games, striking out 151 batters.
(*Update 7/4/18: Schuld added another honor, named the National Softball Player of the Year by FloSoftball.)
Pinnacle finished the season 31-6, with a 9-1 conference record.
Schuld, who also logs time in the outfield, had an impressive year at the plate, where she hit 16 home runs and 57 RBIs and finished with a .574 batting average. In addition to those she put over the fence, she contributed 12 doubles and nine triples, and scored 48 runs — and all that power in a misleading 5’3″ frame.
She actually appeared in the circle less often this season than when she won the POY award last year. That season she worked 131 innings and struck out 248. However, her numbers on offense this season mirrored those from her 2017 season: A .505 batting average, 15 home runs, and 57 RBIs.
When she won the Gatorade award last year, she set another first for her prep career. She became the first softball player from Pinnacle to win the award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.
Schuld maintained a 3.95 GPA in the classroom and demonstrated her commitment outside of the sport by volunteering for fundraising campaigns to benefit breast cancer and ALS research. She also donated time as a peer tutor.
In the recruiting wars between Arizona’s Pac-12 programs, Arizona State claimed the last Gatorade Softball POY, Breanna Macha. Macha, a senior now at ASU, won the award while playing at Red Mountain High School in Mesa and then went on to an impressive college career with the Sun Devils. She helped the Devils reach the Women’s College World Series this season and is graduating with 53 wins, which puts her at No. 12 on the school’s all-time list.
But Schuld is heading south down the I-10 to start her college career. The UofA program, which made it into the Super Regionals this season, can use a good right-handed pitcher to complement its ace lefty, Taylor McQuillin, who will use her senior season to try to get the Cats to the 2019 Women’s College World Series. McQuillin will need all the help she can get.
In Schuld, Arizona head coach Mike Candrea will be getting one of the best pitchers in the country. And one who has proven she will contribute more than just her time on the field.