Peterson was Two-Way Football Lineman Before Choosing Softball
By Tom Mauldin 11/18/2021
Prior to attending Southridge High School, Amanda Peterson had to decide which sport she would focus on. Her options were softball, volleyball and football.
Yes, indeed. Team Northwest pitcher/infielder and All-State First Team softballer as a sophomore was a two-way lineman in middle school and thought about playing football in high school, but softball was becoming a passion.
“I didn’t see myself playing in high school and I got more serious about softball in 8th grade, It conflicted with our fall games,” said Peterson, who said her best gridiron memory was “when we won our season when I was in seventh grade. Also my favorite part of football was gaining the respect from my teammates.”
Peterson also said football was good for “getting in cross-training for softball.”
No doubt it was a good choice as Southridge features a dozen players who weigh in at more than 200 pounds each and another half-dozen topping the scales at 190-plus. With opponents of like size, Peterson would have faced a lot of size mismatches.
Get one thing straight — Peterson is not a powder puff player. If she played again, she’d likely be a middle linebacker and it would be on the boys team. As a power-hitting pitcher with a feisty competitive edge, she no doubt would be a hard hitter.
Softball, however, is her sport. During the high school season, she won 11 games pitching, hit seven homers, batted .519 and was Southridge’s top all-around player as a sophomore. Peterson’s other important statistic is her 3.714 grade point average.
“She is the heart of our team,” said Southridge coach Christina Archambault. “She steps up big when we need it. She will play anywhere we put her and be successful.”
Peterson continued that high school season success with her Oregon Thunder summer team, then played a key role in Oregon Royal capturing the Fastpitch Northwest’s College Exposure Tournament in August. She dominated opponents from her first start through the championship game.
Add to that, Peterson did not allow a run in the City of Lights Tournament when she was the top pitcher for the Northwest All-Star team. The squad, chosen from player performances at Fastpitch Northwest’s August event, won four of five games at the Triple Crown event held in Las Vegas.
“My Fastpitch NW experience was very fun,” said Peterson, who often goes by the nickname ‘AJ.’ “Meeting new people and playing with people that I’ve known from the community, but have never gotten the chance to play with. I also think that it was fate that put me on coach Tom’s team because he’s helped me a lot already.”
And her City of Lights experience?
Peterson added that the Vegas tournament was also “a lot of fun making even stronger bonds with the girls and being able to be in front of so many college coaches.”
It’s been Peterson’s dream to play collegiately for a long time. Maybe not when she started at age seven playing T-Ball, but as her game and passion has grown for the diamond sport, so has her recruit-ability.
“I hope to play softball in college and I hope to pitch consistently in the 60s,” said Peterson. “Also, I’d like to become a more consistent hitter and I’d like to be able to not telegraph my emotions as much when I’m pitching.”
Softball has taught Peterson a lot, as well as given her many life-long memories.
“I think the most recent favorite memory was being in San Diego with my Thunder team and fighting back to the top in five games to get to the championship,” she said.
Her worst softball memory was “probably PGF last summer and having to say goodbye to the seniors from my team.”
Peterson, the daughter of Brenda and Andy Peterson, said softball teaches her to “learn immediately.”
“Softball is challenging in a lot of ways,” she said. “I love that it takes a lot of skill to play and you can’t just pick it up on a whim. I love that it is a team game that you physically cannot play by yourself. Also, I love that it is a game of failure, and you can learn immediately from a mistake that you have made.”
While many power-hitting pitchers say they prefer to hit, Peterson doesn’t hesitate it is pitching.
“I would definitely rather pitch because of how hard I’ve worked to get where I am. I also really love the rush of being able to control the game.”
Peterson’s pitching coach Tom Mauldin concurs. “Amanda has a lot of upsides and her passion as a student of pitching is very apparent. She has that pitcher mentality of ‘give me the ball.’ That will enable her to be successful a the next level.”
The real question is that with one year of high school remaining, is football still in the picture?
“I’ve thought about trying out when I’m senior just for fun, but I probably won’t,” said Peterson. “I’d play defense … mostly maybe linebacker.”
Sounds just like a power-hitting pitcher.