Following their graduation from Oakdale High School in 2016 twins Maddi and Kindra Hackbarth headed to Fresno State to play softball for the Bulldogs. After discovering that the program wasn’t as good a fit as anticipated and a subsequent falling out with the program, they filed an appeal to transfer out of Fresno State. The girls won their appeal and were able to then go play under head coach Trisha Ford at Arizona State University.
“I honestly did not want to play softball anymore,” Kindra said, reminiscing about her time at Fresno State. “But Coach Ford and her staff gave me back the passion to play again and I am forever grateful for that.”
The Hackbarths were not the only players to transfer from their previous schools as seven total players from around the nation transferred to join the Sun Devils this past season.
“I think players wanted to play for Coach Ford,” said Kindra. “She is an amazing person and coach.”
Last summer the girls won their appeal and headed to Tempe, Arizona.
“We got the email while we were on the plane and when we opened it, me, Kindra and my mom were all in tears; tears of joy, of course,” Maddi said.
Once the smoke cleared from that chapter in their lives, the girls turned their focus on softball and Pac-12 action.
“The Pac-12 is a different atmosphere, I believe it is the toughest conference in college and has the top athletes, in my opinion,” said Maddi.
This year the team went 16-8 in the Pac-12 and 48-13 overall. The Hackbarth twins found success at the next level, as Kindra was named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team and All-Regional Team and Maddi found success at the plate having 20 extra base hits this year.
The Sun Devils went on to win both the NCAA Regionals as well as the NCAA Super Regionals. Following their impressive victories the team waited at the selection show to see if ASU would be selected for the 2018 Women’s College World Series.
“Every team in the nation had the same goal and that was to play at the WCWS in Oklahoma City. They take the top eight teams and when they announced us it was surreal,” said Maddi.
In front of the world the girls took on the number one team in the nation, facing off against Oregon in the first game of the double elimination tournament. With 36 cameras on the field and a large sold out crowd, the Hackbarths took the field with their teammates.
“Before the Oregon game I told my pitcher (Giselle “G” Juarez) that it’s just the two of us and not to get wrapped up in all the craziness that was happening around us,” said Maddi, who was behind the plate for the contest.
In the contest Kindra had three hits but the Ducks went on to win 11-6. Two days later the girls took on the two-time defending champion Oklahoma University Sooners. The Sun Devils were blanked 2-0 and their season came to an end.
“It was a dream come true to play on that field in that caliber of a game or games,” said Maddi.
Kindra added; “I am nervous before each game but those games had me very nervous. To play in the first game of the day was an honor and I am very proud of my teammates.”
The twins played on that same field nearly a decade ago when they went to Oklahoma City to play for the California Grapettes.
To reach the heights of their sophomore season they acknowledged that it would not have been possible without their parents, Paul and Mary Hackbarth.
“My parents have always been very supportive and have sacrificed so much for me and my sister,” Maddi said.
They also wanted to acknowledge their head coach Ford and her staff, including Coach Carly Wynn.
“Coach Ford, Coach Wynn and everyone else on the staff have made softball fun for me again. They are truly an amazing group,” said Kindra.