Women’s College World Series in 2022
UCLA softball demonstrated ‘grit, passion, and adaptability’ on their path to the Women’s College World Series in 2022.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — UCLA has been to the Women’s College World Series seven times in a row, but 2022 will always hold a special place in Kelly Inouye-heart. Perez’s
“Oh, absolutely. I believe I credit my coaches for coming up with new approaches to win “said the Bruins’ head coach. “We weren’t as loaded as we had been previously. We had a roster last year that, based on the names on it, you could have concluded it was over, but not this year.”
The Bruins relied heavily on pitchers Megan Faraimo and Holly Azevedo — their first 20-win tandem in 20 years — before attempting to sort out the rest.
UCLA suffered a season-ending knee injury to standout outfielder Aaliyah Jordan, a senior leader and uber-consistent hitter, only eight games into the season. Kinsley Washington, first baseman, and utility Savannah Pola, two more significant hitters, were also injured.
As a result, the Bruins were forced to experiment with lineups and placement.
Nonetheless, they concluded with 51 victories, the No. 5 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and as usual, in Oklahoma City.
“Just a lot of grit, passion, and variety,” Inouye-Perez remarked. “This year, no one got to witness what was going on behind the scenes. We just moved folks in and out of the lineup. You couldn’t tell from our records. You couldn’t tell from how we were acting.
“As I previously stated, we have been fortunate to have a highlight reel with UCLA softball of some of these guys playing on this stage as freshmen over the last four to five years. The highlight reel of them is genuine, as are our expectations of these guys, but this is a year when various people rose up, stepped up, and had significant moments.
“We often speak about adaptability, but today — with this club — we almost got to the end of our bench. Savi Pola, for example, is playing with nine fingers. I mean, seriously? We assumed she was also gone.
As a freshman, I appreciate that she was able to get experience, settle in, and play. We assumed she wouldn’t be able to complete the season. Kinsley wasn’t meant to complete. We’ve been through a lot. Adversity allows other individuals to rise up, and I’m really proud of UCLA this year for doing so.”
On the last day of the season, the Bruins were one of just three teams this season to defeat No. 1 Oklahoma, winning 7-3 in front of a raucous pro-OU crowd at Hall of Fame Stadium.
Although OU won the second game of the doubleheader to eliminate UCLA from the WCWS, their point had already been made.
“I think it just shows that we were a force to be reckoned with the whole season and maybe didn’t receive the recognition that we deserved,” Brady, who homered twice in the opening game, said. “And I think the fact that we came out and punched a team like that just shows that UCLA softball is still in the running and deserves to be spoken about.”
“Whether or not people believed it, it didn’t matter because we knew what we were capable of.”
Even when the Bruins were down 15-0 in the second game, their dugout was still hoping for a comeback.
“At the end of the day, my team and I don’t quit,” stated Inouye-Perez. “And I believe that is what makes me so proud of them, and it is the DNA of UCLA softball. You always have a chance, no matter how low you are. All we have to do now is keep punching. It wasn’t our day on Game 2 today, but I’m very proud that we’re standing here on day two with an opportunity.”
The setback on Monday brought an end to the careers of a remarkable senior class that will not be forgotten in Westwood.
Delanie Wisz, the team’s catcher/third baseman, emerged as one of the best hitters in the country in the second half of the season, shortstop Briana Perez anchored the top of the lineup and was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Washington was one of the team’s most consistent bats, and Azevedo combined with Faraimo to form one of the nation’s best 1-2 punches in the circle.
Brady sobbed as she spoke about the upperclassmen, claiming they are some of the finest role models she’s ever had and that they have improved the programme.
Wisz commended her friends for helping her rediscover her love for softball. “I think they stated it best, they left their stamp,” Inouye-Perez remarked. “They left UCLA in a better situation, and we simply lived through it.” We didn’t have [Delanie] long enough to have her as a four-year, five-year (player), but Kinsley, Holly, and Bri have all left the programme in a better place. They took care of everything. They were in charge. They shone brightly. They delivered. They’re excellent pupils. They represent with distinction. As I already stated, they are really sophisticated, sassy, and a lot terrible assy. I believe the senior class has it all.
“We’ll miss them terribly, but they brought us back to the Women’s College World Series because we have some new Bruins coming in, and we’ll have some young Bruins coming in, but that senior class got us back four years in a row, and that’s a tremendous statement. We needed leadership and expertise to have a presence here, and we had both. That is why we have come.”