Bruins National Champs
By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
The UCLA softball team won the WCWS in dramatic fashion as Kinsley Washington ripped a single to right field to score pinch runner Jaqui Prober giving the the team a 5-4 win to claim the title.
The title was the 13th for the program, the first since 2010 and 118th in school history. It was the second Bruin walk-off in three days.
“The history is as old as dirt,” said UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “I’m so proud to be a part of it, player, assistant, head coach. This is about the here and now. This is about UCLA softball in 2019. This team got on a mission.” Inouye-Perez earned her 600th win and second National Title.
Bubba Nickles and Brianna Perez got things going in the bottom of the first by hitting with back to back home runs.
Brianna Tautalafua of Carson led off the fifth with a homer to give the Bruins a 4-3 lead. She had three hits on the night. Aaliyah Jordan and Washington chipped in with two hits apiece.
The Bruins (56-6) were one out from the title when Shay Knighton homered in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 4-4 for the Sooners (56-7). As she rounded the bases Garcia smiled.
“Its an inside joke” said Garcia. ” I literally looked at each one of my teammates and said we’re gonna be ok we’re gonna punch back.”
The game was closer than the 16-3 open win in game one.“Yesterday was kind of a game where you just kind of got to flush it, got to let it go,” said Oklahoma’s Sydney Romero. “I feel like we came out today, we bounced back, we gave it our all. I think that’s all you could ever ask for.
Washington, Jordan Nickels and Garcia were named to the All-Tournament team. Garcia who pitched all but two innings threw 603 total pitches in the WCWS and went 9-0 in the tournament was named Most Outstanding Player.
Garcia was playing with emotion as she recently lost her grandfather. After the game she stated, “I knew he was right there with me.”