By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
UCLA softball fans and seniors could not have ask for a better send-off for their seniors. For the final regular season home game of the 2021 season they did what they’ve done all year win.
They came away with a four game weekend series sweep over Stanford. That ran their record to 38-3 (16-2, PAC-12)
Delanie Wisze went “Uptown” with a two-run homer in the 3rd inning, later she singled giving her three RBI’s on the day.
Rachel Garcia had two hits, knocked in two runs and scored two runs. She also finished her regular season in the circle by throwing four scoreless innings, striking out two as the Lady Bruins got a 8-0 (5 inning) run rule win over the Cardinal 29-18 (8-10, PAC-12)
It was celebration of Seniors as the school recently was allowed to have fans attend games on campus.
Bubba Nichols, Rachael Garcia, Jenavee Peres, Julie Rodriquez, Alana Snow, and Malia Quarles were all recognized in a pregame ceremony.
“I can’t explain how much they mean to me,” said Briana Perez. “They have given their all to this program. They deserve a day like this, it means so much to myself and other the teammates They give and give and give, I love them so much.”
It was Mother’s Day and that made it extra special for Jenavee Peres who is a proud mom of three year-old son, Levi. She was excited to have her parent’s attend the game.
Peres began her softball college playing at San Diego State and transferred to UCLA a with a blessing to have a chance to earn her Master’s Degree which she is on her way.
She left the Aztecs at with the highest batting average (.409) and slugging percentage (.743) in school history.
In her 2020 debut with the Bruins she walked, singled and homered versus then #9 ranked Alabama.
She hit .345 and was third on the team with four homers. She had seven hits in nine games she played.
“It’s possible to do things when you put your mind to it,” said the Garden Grove native. “I like being an inspiration to other moms that are in the same situation as I am.”
Being a young mother still in college she has leaned on Head Coach Kelley Inouye-Perez who’s the mother of two boys.
“I always call and ask for advice; we share a lot. It’s fun to listen she tells me a lot of stories about (her sons) Michael and Kylie” she added.
After getting off to a 25-1 start in 2020 then having the season cancelled it was “extremely disappointing,” said head coach Inouye-Perez.
The #2 ranked Bruins have picked up right where they left off and put themselves back in the hunt to repeat as National Champs. They been in the top five all season.
They have had 12 games cancelled because of various COVID-19 and medical protocols.
In the series opener Friday it began with a 4-0 win as Aaliyah Jordan homered and was joined by Brianna Perez having two hits and knocking in a run a piece.
Freshman Thessa Malau’ula (St. Anthony’s-Long Beach) had two hits and scored two runs. “Super Senior” Rachael Garcia (10-0) tossed a three-hitter striking out five on 83 pitches. Alana Vawter (20-7) took the lost for the Cardinal.
On Saturday the front end of a double header Bruin bats busted loose for nine hits in a 9-0 (5 inning) run rule win.
Freshman Taylor Edwards (Carson High) had two hits, two RBI’s and scored two runs. Brianna Perez hit a two-run homer.
Megan Faraimo ran her record to 16-3 with the win. Regan Krause (7-7) took the loss.
In game two Rachel Garcia (11-0) did it all knocking in all three runs with a single and three-run homer in a 3-1 win. She pitched seven innings giving up three hits on 93 pitches.
Earlier last week the Bruins took a double header against the Long Beach State at the L.B. State sports complex. In the first game Briana Perez had two RBI’s. Kinsley Washington and Peres knocked in a run apiece in a 5-1 win over the 49er’s. Rachel Garcia pitched four-hitter.
In the nightcap the UCLA bats went to work as the hammered out nine hits in a 10-2 (5 inning) run rule game.
Holly Azvedo (8-0) got that win.
In an interview talking with Softball America Peres laid out some major words for hard working moms.
“A lot tend to get loss in being moms and I definitely did for awhile,” she stated. “A message I definitely want to send to other women is that its possible (to return to your sport). You are more than just a mom. You are your own person and you still need tome for yourself and something to call yours. And that’s OK.”