(East Los Angeles, CA) May 26, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: In preparation for covering this extremely important playoff game in the NCAA’s D-1 Softball – Los Angeles Regional “double-elimination” tournament that was held at Easton Stadium on the campus of the UCLA Bruins, we wanted to briefly describe the all-important game-day environment. All participants couldn’t have asked for a better day for softball than Sunday, 5/23, to be ordered for them. It was just a beautiful, warm, and sunny day for sports to be played here in the City of Angels.
So often the game highlights feature elite players, spectacular game winning, or game-defining plays, and we as fans and correspondents, take all that into consideration as we recall and/or write our stories. Here is our note, (Of Significance): Sunday’s matinee and final game, brings us back to share that highlight and spotlight time we just spoke about, and centers on the Bruins Head Coach, Kellye Inouye-Perez. She decided to start her #2 pitcher, SO/#8/Megan Faraimo, but had to make that tough decision to pull her while it was still very early in the game, and the Bruins trailing the BIG 10’s Minnesota Gophers by a (1-0) score.
Although Faraimo pitched well, in her 1 & 2/3 innings of work, she ran into some trouble after giving up a solo homer to 1B/ Megan Dray for their one and only lead. Coming onto relieve was All-American and ace of the Bruins pitching staff, none other than #00/Rachel Garcia. Going back to the Coach’s decision…it was the right choice at the right time, and for all of the right reasons. Absolutely no doubt that Garcia has been the “Golden Arm” for the team all season, just as she’s been for her entire Bruin career. She is simply one of the Best, and hopefully on path to become the equivalent to the other “Golden Arm” in her Bruin career during her incredible era as the ASA/USA Softball National Hall of Fame Inductee, (2013), the UCLA Hall of Fame Inductee (2003), the 3-time U.S. Gold Medalist Olympian, the 4-time 1st Team All-American, the 2-time NCAA National Champion, the 4-time All Region & 3-time All PAC-10 Player of the Year, a four-year NCAA Division 1 Student-Athlete, and the 23 year Assistant Coach— all accomplished in Bruin softball tradition, lore and legend. Having said that, we give you the one and only, Lisa Fernandez.
We are very proud of both of these outstanding individuals, athletes, and competitors. They are a great credit to their sport and they also serve as terrific role models, not only to our large East L.A. and many other Latin-American communities, but to All communities.
(Game Recap): The Bruins trailed through the first 3 innings, but then, in that highly repetitive game situation, with “2 on and 2 out”, Junior/1B/#37/Kinsley Washington, waited for her pitch and singled sharply up the middle driving in both base runners, giving the Bruins the lead they would never relinquish at (2-0). But prior to that, to get the rally started, Garcia got on-board with a single. That was followed by FR/#7/Maya Brady, who lined a double to left, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. And, with that, the limited number of “in-person” family members and alumni in attendance, all took a big sigh of relief, knowing that the troubled waters were now going to be calmed for the rest of the game by the pitching prowess and sustained power of Rachel Garcia.
For her sparkling efforts, Garcia picked up the win in relief, was credited with 5 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, and remained with her perfect record, pushing it to (16-0). She also went to (2-4) at the plate. Joining her teammate with a timely two-hit at-bat performance was Maya Brady. The Bruins moved their record to a very robust (44-4) while the Gophers closed their season at (31-13). Losing pitcher, Autumn Pease, the JR/RHP, a native of Murrieta, CA and an alum of Murrieta Mesa HS, closed her season with a (12-3) record.
(Next Up): The NCAA’s Division 1 – Los Angeles “Super Regional” Softball Tournament, vs. #21 Virginia Tech “Hokies” (36-13), representing the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), in Game #1 of the “Best of 3” series, Thursday, 5/27 at 6:30 pm PT. The game can be viewed on ESPN.