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Dedmon Delivers Title for UCLA

Seldom-used freshman's two-run pinch-hit single follows Sua's homer and lifts Bruins past Cal, 3-1.

June 01, 2004|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

Lisa Dodd and Jodie Legaspi are two of UCLA's prized freshmen and they provided much of the offense for the Bruins in their undefeated run through the Women's College World Series.

But with the NCAA softball championship on the line Monday night, few could have thought that little-used Kristen Dedmon would provide the heroics.

Dedmon delivered a pinch-hit two-run single to end a fifth-inning tie and UCLA went on to defeat California, 3-1, to win its record 11th national championship in front of 5,735 in ASA Hall of Fame Stadium at Oklahoma City.

UCLA (47-9) became the first team to repeat as champion since Arizona in 1997. The Bruins have won an NCAA-record 10 titles and one AIAW championship.

Dedmon, a freshman out of Anaheim Esperanza High, had not played in a game since May 15. Before Monday night's game, she had 13 hits and a .191 batting average.

UCLA Coach Sue Enquist summoned the power hitter for her first postseason at-bat after Michelle Turner struck out looking with runners on second and third.

On a 1-and-1 count from reliever Kristina Thorson, Dedmon got an outside fastball and drilled it up the middle.

Pinch-runner Amanda Simpson scored easily and Tara Henry was called safe when plate umpire Michael Mazur ruled that catcher Haley Woods had obstructed Henry on the throw home.

"Kristen has put in so much time on her own that I felt one swing could completely change the game," Enquist said. "I had confidence in her at that moment."

Right-hander Keira Goerl finished off the stunned Golden Bears. Goerl, who pitched the first no-hitter in title game history last year against Cal, gave up seven hits and had only four strikeouts, but she did not allow a runner to reach third base after the first inning.

Goerl joined former UCLA star Debbie Doom and Arizona's Susie Parra as the only pitchers to win multiple championship games.

Cal (53-13) jumped ahead in the first inning as Goerl struggled to find her rhythm.

Lindsay James walked and Woods singled to left field. With two outs, Jessica Pamanian hit a single under third baseman Andrea Duran's glove to drive in James.

For four innings, the Golden Bears looked as if they could make the run stand. Kelly Anderson retired the first 12 Bruins. But on her first pitch of the fifth, first baseman Claire Sua belted a high fastball over the left-field bleachers to tie the score.

Sua and Dedmon had the only hits for UCLA.

Stephens reported from Los Angeles.

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