Balko ready for UA experience

When Callista Balko, a catcher/infielder from Tucson (Canyon Del Oro), Ariz. was offered a full scholarship by the University of Arizona she knew she couldn't go anywhere else.

"I was considering UCLA, Oklahoma and Texas also, but I have wanted to go to Arizona since I was eight years old " Balko said. "I wanted to stay local so my parents could watch me play on a national championship team. I am excited to play for Coach (Mike) Candrea. He is a great person and it will be great to play for someone who is so passionate about the game."

Balko excels at hitting, and hopes to play catcher for the UA upon her arrival.

"My goals for the first year are to start as a freshman and surprise people," Balko said. "A lot of people seem to think I won't do well so I want to go in and prove them wrong. My coaches have shaped me into the player I am today. My parents have supported me through everything and my teammates have encouraged me never to be satisfied."

Former Wildcat standout Laura Espinosa has been instrumental in her success as well. "She was my coach and someone I looked up to growing up," Balko said. "She is just awesome and I owe a lot to her and her dad."

The Balko Bio: Balko was tabbed as one of the top 10 recruits in Arizona. As a junior she led her team to the Division Championship as well as AIA Region Championship and earned Tucson Citizen, Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Republic First team player as a junior, sophomore and freshman. As a sophomore she was the Tucson City Coaches Pick and was Tucson All-City and also All-Region honoree, second team All-American and All-State. As a freshman, Balko was the High School Offensive Player of the Year. Balko likely will be the backup shortstop and catcher behind sophomores Kristie Fox and Cortney Nix. She could also contribute as a DH.

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