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ASU Softball: Ford brings in small, talented 2021 signing class

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Three talented girls

Brady Vernon

The complications from COVID-19 have made roster management tough for all college coaches. Trisha Ford’s current Sun Devil roster features a lot of depth with the majority of her senior class returning from last season as well as a large group of freshmen coming in.

Ford’s 2021 signing class only has three players but each are highly talented. Mac Morgan, Cydney Sanders and Liliana Thomas are all ranked highly on different recruiting services including all of them making it on Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 High School Recruiting Rankings.

“We’re excited about them coming in and I think they’re going to be a very special group,” Ford said.

Mac Morgan, RHP, High School: Sherwood (Creighton, Mo.)

Morgan won the 2019-20 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year award. She lead her small town Sherwood to a Class 2 state championship in Missouri in 2019 with a 0.12 ERA.

The hope with Morgan is that her and 2020 signee Allison Royalty can be the Sun Devils’ future 1-2 punch in the circle.

“Allison and her are very similar in they want to be great, they want to play at the highest level, they push themselves, they just do things different than a lot pitchers do at their level,” Ford said. “Mac comes from a very small town but continues to push and get the work in.”

Ford compares Morgan to former Sun Devil Breanna Macha in terms of style. Morgan throws hard, usually around 68-mph and touching over 70, and down.

When the ball flies at Farrington Stadium, her repertoire allows Morgan to keep the home run numbers down. It also works in great combination with Royalty’s high and spiny arsenal.

Cydney Sanders, 1B/3B, High School: San Marcos (San Marcos, Calif.)

Ford kept it simple when describing Sanders. She’s special in the box.

“She came to camps early on in her high school career and she was hitting balls of the wrestling building (behind left field at Farrington Stadium,” Ford said. “You can’t teach that crazy strength.”

Over three years at San Marcos High School, Sanders hit 31 home runs in just 64 games. She’s brought the same power to Marty Tyson’s Corona Angels, a top travel ball organization.

Ford projects Sanders to be a corner infielder for Arizona State, whether it be at first or third base.

Liliana Thomas, C, High School: Maryknoll (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Thomas plays plenty of softball on the mainland as she spends her travel ball time with Firecrackers Brashear.

Ford had a lot of Hawaiian connections she used in her recruitment with Thomas. One being former Cal and Fresno State star Kamalani Dung, who Ford recruited while she was still the head coach for Fresno State.

“Liliana is someone that when we went and watched her on the mainland was pretty dynamic,“ Ford said. “She has great work ethic. We weren’t able to make it out there but I was able to make quite a few phone calls to people I know about who she is and her make up. It’s been fun because she just wants to play against the best. She lights up the room when she walks in.”

Ford mentioned that Thomas’ easy going personality makes her intrigued in the benefits it brings as a catcher and working with pitchers. She believes Thomas will know when to push certain buttons because it comes natural to her.