It doesn’t matter how big you are, it matters how big your heart is

BYJess Caron

By: Alison Newland


“It doesn’t matter how big you are, it matters how big your heart is.” 


For Ryan Maddox, the cliche proves especially true. The five-foot-three power pitcher from California will join the Arizona Wildcats this fall, and she’s already got a nickname from a legend as big as her game. 


All of the Cubs fans out there will remember Ryne Sandberg – MVP, Hall of Fame second baseman and long-time face of the franchise. Well, there’s a new Ryno in town, and this one will be running in Tucson. 


“I started playing tee ball when I was three, and [he] was my dad’s favorite player.  So he started calling me that, and it just kind of stuck.” 


Pretty high praise, and from the man who means so much to her.  Ryan tells us her dad is her greatest role model, and one of the hardest working people she knows.


“He has constantly pushed me to be my best in and out of softball, and he puts in countless hours and still makes time to support me in everything that I do.” 


When she isn’t striking people out, Ryan is a bit of a baker, a hobby that will certainly make her a locker room favorite. She enjoys making some of the simple things, like homemade cakes, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes.  Her best, she says, is a classic: homemade chocolate chip cookies. When it’s all said and done, though, Ryan wants to be remembered as a great teammate – as someone who fought to the last pitch of every game for the girls playing behind her. 


As “The Lowe Era” has gotten closer for Ryan, she’s focused more on just being a pitcher. Over the last few seasons, she’s spent the majority of her time working in the bullpen, mastering different spins and pitches. 


Maddox plays for the highly touted OC Batbusters-Stith, the number one seeded team going into this year’s national tournament, who are looking to repeat as champions. 


And if you look at last year’s championship game, there’s an all too familiar face on the mound. Tune in July 30th for the crowning of the next Alliance Fastpitch Championship series to see if Ryan and her team can go back to back. 


The reigning California Gatorade Player of the Year will participate in the Alliance All-Star game July 23rd.

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