Arizona has won eight national softball titles — second only to UCLA’s 10 — and the last two.
Kirker is set to graduate from Crescenta Valley in 2009, and then she’s off to play for the Wildcats. Where she’ll play will be a question, as it’s unlikely she’ll continue playing shortstop, where she starts for the Falcons.
“I’m not sure yet, I’m thinking third or first,” said Kirker, who hit .474 with 20 runs batted in as a sophomore and .606 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs as a freshman. “I have to earn my spot.”
Added Falcons Coach Dan Berry: “It’s amazing. ... I think it’ll be a very good thing for her, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime [opportunity].”
Kirker follows other area greats Jenny Dalton of Glendale High and Nancy Evans of Hoover High, who played softball at Arizona. Both became All-Americans.
Evans is now the interim co-coach for the Wildcats.
According to Kirker, much of Arizona’s interest started from word of her play with her travel ball team.
Already in Arizona for Thanksgiving with her grandparents, Kirker was invited to campus on Wednesday and Wildcats Coach Mike Candrea offered her. She immediately accepted.
“She’s a special player,” said Berry of the 2006 All-Area Player of the Year.
She’s also the third Falcons player to commit early after Ashleigh Viers-Gordillo committed to Boise State and Lainey DePompa decided on UC Santa Barbara.
“That says something about those kids,” Berry said. “They worked hard for that.”
Said Kirker: “It’s so exciting, I just have this great feeling. I’m glad to be a part of this winning team.”