By her own admission, Cassidy Scoggins wasn’t supposed to be as good as she was for SIU’s softball team.

Recruited very late in her senior year at Owasso High School, the 5-foot-7 pitcher led her school to a runner-up finish at the state tournament in 2003, ending her final prep season with a 22-6 record and a 0.79 ERA. Nine years later at 27 years old, she will be immortalized into legend as a first-ballot Saluki Hall of Famer on Feb. 15.

“Cassidy was not highly recruited,” said SIU coach Kerri Blaylock. “I sent (recruiting coordinator) Buddy Foster out to the Oklahoma state championships very late in her senior year and he said, ‘Kerri, I think we have to take this one.’

“It was one of the best things I ever did.”

An Oklahoma kid from a small Tulsa suburb, Scoggins led the Salukis as a freshman with a 13-4 record and a 1.24 ERA in 2004. She picked up her first win in her first collegiate start against Bethune-Cookman and recorded 62 strikeouts in 99 innings pitched.

A year later, Scoggins was part of one of the best pitching stables in SIU history alongside 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Amy Harre and Ashley Hamby. The 2005 Saluki staff combined for a 1.16 ERA and 47 wins, including victories over No. 15 Georgia Tech, No. 21 Florida State, No. 16 Missouri and No. 19 Creighton.

“It really was like a family,” Scoggins said. “We had fun on the field and off, and I think that’s why we were successful as a team.”

Scoggins finished with six career no-hitters, while being named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team three times and MVC Pitcher of the Year in 2006. She ranks second in career wins (81), complete games (79), shutouts (35), no-hitters and third in strikeouts (713).

“I wasn’t supposed to be as successful as I was,” Scoggins said. “It’s an honor to have the career that I did and I think that’s why I miss it so much.”

After graduating from SIU, Scoggins was picked by the Rockford Thunder in the fourth and final round of the National Pro Fastpitch draft. For a brief time, she was the teammate of Team USA Olympian and softball icon Cat Osterman, who will be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame three days after Scoggins gets her induction at SIU.

“If there’s one word that describes Cassidy it is ‘tough,’” Blaylock said. “It just goes to show you that special players don’t come along very often and she was definitely an impact player.” / 618-351-5073

On Twitter: @PeteTheSouthern

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