KINGMAN – What do Amanda Pinkstaff and Vince Young have in common?
For one, they’re both football fans. They’re both known for their quick feet, and they both know what it’s like to try and convince coaches they’re worth taking a chance on.
And until the NFL Draft in late April, Pinkstaff will have something Young would trade his national championship ring for: knowledge of where she’ll be playing next year.
With her mind at ease about her future, Pinkstaff plans on making the most of her final year on the softball team at Kingman High School.
Pinkstaff was the first of three Lady Bulldogs last month to sign letters of intent with South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. Joining the Cougars’ softball team will mean immediate playing time for Pinkstaff as well as a chance to take classes toward her career goal of teaching and coaching in high school.
“South Mountain is exactly what I wanted,” she said. “I can stay close to home to watch my brother play Kingman sports, and my boyfriend lives in Phoenix, too, so that’s nice.
“There was a chance that I could get another offer later, but because it’s close to home and having my teammates with me, it made the decision easy for me.”
After sending out interest letters and trying out for a number of Arizona teams, an alumni game in Phoenix where SMCC coach Tony Maya was watching turned out to be the only audition that mattered.
“He took us back to his office and talked to us, and right then and there he wanted to sign us all,” she said.
“Amanda has always been a really good student, so it was not a question of if she would go to college but whether or not she would play sports,” said Kim Pinkstaff, Amanda’s mother.
“She’s played since she was 7 years old, and Kingman’s always been so competitive with softball that a lot of girls that played don’t anymore, so we’re fortunate.”
An all-star shortstop since the age of 8, “Pink” had to switch sides in the infield to make Kingman’s varsity team but has come to enjoy her new home at second base.
“I found I like it a lot better,” she said. “When we have drills and (Kingman coach Salina) Fogg hits grounder after grounder after grounder, that’s what really gets my adrenaline going.”
Pinkstaff is no slouch with her bat, either. She’s moved up two spots in the batting order this year, and drove in the Bulldogs’ only run in their first game of the season against Shadow Mountain.
“She’s a hard worker. She gives 100 percent every day to make her skills the best they can be,” Fogg said. “Last year she would hit the ball right on the button, but it would go right to somebody, so when she finds those holes she’s going to be real effective this year.”
And while her love of horror movies would indicate she seeks out tense situations, Pinkstaff said she feels no pressure to prove herself this year as a college-level player and hopes to find added confidence on the field because of her achievement. Her coach and family agree.
“She can play more for her and not for other people now,” Fogg said.
“There’s a lot less pressure when it’s not in the back of your mind that you’ve got to impress colleges or recruiters.”