Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Before she was even in position to be recruited to play college softball, Mackenzie Depaoli knew where she wanted to go.
So after last season, when she had the state championship ring and 3A State Most Valuable Player award to show, she contacted the school of her dreams and made her pitch.
The interest was immediately reciprocated, and on Dec. 16 it became official, when Depaoli signed and submitted her letter-of-intent to play at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.
“I’ve wanted to go to Carroll College since I was 12, and I wanted to play in college since I started playing softball,” Depaoli said. “It was kind of a random college that I picked, it’s a small school in Montana, just beautiful there.”
After last season, when Depaoli was one of the pitchers who led the Vaqueros to the 3A state championship and named Northern 3A and State 3A MVP, she emailed the Carroll College coaches with a list of her achievements, her goals and her academic interests.
They emailed her back, and her intentions were only solidified when she made an official visit to the campus.
“I could feel a different vibe when I was there and I loved it,” Depaoli said. “I knew I wanted to go there when I was headed there.”
Depaoli led the Vaqueros last season as a junior with 2.04 earned run average, an 18-6 record in 24 starts, striking out 221 batters and allowing 122 hits in 154 2/3 innings.
She also led the team with a .377 bating average, .460 on base percentage and 35 runs batted in.
Although she also played other positions, she plans to focus on pitching at Carroll.
She also hopes to lead the charge as the Vaqueros try to repeat this spring as state champions, and she’s glad to have the recruiting process out of the way.
“I’m less stressed out, more relaxed that it’s over, but it’s just beginning, so I can just focus on my goals and not try and get recruited,” Depaoli said.
Depaoli plans to double major in biology and health science at Carroll.
“I want to thank my parents for bringing me everywhere and going on these mini vacations to travel softball,” she said. “I also want to thank my coaches, (Junie) Estrada, (Diane) Chapin, Bear Olsen and athletic director (Pau)l Sullivan for pushing me and making me the athlete and person I am today.”
Carroll College Softball welcomed Depaoli to the team in a Facebook post announcing her signing.
“Welcome Mackenzie D and her wonderful family to Carroll College Softball! Mackenzie is a proven winner and does an exceptional job on the mound. Having been named the 3A Player of the Year last season, we know that she will continue this greatness here at Carroll both on and off of field.
We look forward to having her here and know that she will do a great job being a SAINT!”