Marissa Schuld grew up having season tickets to Sun Devil football and softball. Nearly every weekend it felt like she was tailgating outside one of the two sports.
Schuld, a two-time Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year while at Pinnacle High School, had multiple family members graduate from Arizona State.
She might’ve seemed like the perfect Sun Devil, but back in eighth grade before she racked up all her high school accolades, she committed to Arizona and the family rivalry was on.
At the time, Arizona State was still looking for stability at the coaching position during Schuld’s recruiting process. That uncertainty helped push her to the other local school down south and once she committed, she didn’t look into her other offers.
However, after two years in Tucson, Schuld wanted a new opportunity and entered the transfer portal. She wasn’t locked on to Arizona State at first, but the stars eventually just aligned.
“It’s just something that worked out that way,” Schuld told House of Sparky in a phone interview. “It’s kind of weird going from Arizona to Arizona State...We were a house divided. When coach (Trisha) Ford reached out to me, it was one of my top choices. I wanted to stay in the Power Five. It was close to home, close to my family and friends. That’s what put it over the top.”
The Sun Devils also had help from a few players from the present and past. Former All-American Katelyn Boyd was a role model to Schuld, being there for any question she had.
It’s also the reason Schuld wore No. 17 throughout her club career before flipping it around to No. 71 at Arizona.
Schuld also considers current Sun Devil shortstop Alynah Torres one of her best friends. She helped give her a bit of a nudge towards Tempe.
She also has plenty of experience playing with or against other local Sun Devils such as Abby Andersen, Kiara Kennedy, Macy Simmons, Bella Loomis, Olivia Miller, Lindsay Lopez and Yannira Acuña.
Additionally, due to spring sport athletes receiving another year of eligibility, Arizona’s large senior class that includes pitchers Alyssa Denham and Mariah Lopez, are all returning and the Wildcats are bringing in one of the best recruiting classes at the same time.
For Schuld, that certainly impacted her decision because despite getting time at the designated player position, the two-way player just missed having a glove on.
“I didn’t get many opportunities to pitch at Arizona and I honestly just miss playing the field,” Schuld said. “I think if we can work together, it can be a great match with the rest of the pitching staff because I’m just trying to complement them.”
In high school, Schuld displayed how well she can play on both sides. She owns Pinnacle’s career records in home runs (37), RBI (177), strikeouts (617), and victories (54). However, Ford’s track record with pitchers was another attraction in her decision to come home.
“I know that she develops pitchers well,” Schuld said. “I knew that if I were to go to Arizona State, I wanted to be ready to work with her. It’s just developing that player-coach relationship. I truly believe she cares for her players and that’s great.”
Certainly the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted plenty of lives. Before the season it was hard for Schuld to imagine leaving Arizona, but things change quickly and she’s ready for her new chapter.
“It’s a blessing in disguise. I get a new start, a fresh start,” she said. “It’s sad that everything had to happen the way that it did but I’m going to seek a new opportunity and help out any way that I can.”