In a title game filled with eight homeruns, all it took was a single by a former La Salle Lancer to give UCLA its 12th NCAA softball championship.

Sophomore Kinsley Washington’s two-out basehit to left field in the bottom of the seventh brought home the winning run in the second-ranked Bruins’ 5-4 victory over top-ranked Oklahoma June 4 in Oklahoma City. The walk-off blow sent the happy Bruins streaming from the dugout and into a pile atop Washington, enjoying the biggest moment of her softball career.

It capped a solid season for the 5-foot-8 second baseman from Whittier, who batted .321 with 19 runs batted in in 2019. In the opening game of the best-of-three championship series, Washington was a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs scored in UCLA’s 16-3 rout.

A member of the La Salle class of 2017, Washington was twice an All-Del Rey League as well as the Lancers’ MVP and team captain. As a UCLA freshman in 2018, she hit .328 and was an All-Pac 12 Freshman Team selection.

She is the daughter of former UCLA All-American defensive back James Washington, who played pro with the Dallas Cowboys, and chose UCLA “because it has always been my dream school, having come to softball camps as a young child and looking up to the girls who wore those four letters across their chest.”

As a forensic psychology major looking for a career in law enforcement, it has also been her desire “to be a role model for up-and-coming players, and impact the softball community in a positive way.”

Also key to UCLA’s 56-6 championship season was freshman outfielder Kelli Godin, an All-CIF star in softball and track last year at Mater Dei High School. The Long Beach native hit .418 in 58 games for UCLA.

Two other local Catholic high school stars were on this year’s UCLA roster: sophomore outfielder Zia Norris of Bishop Montgomery, and senior outfielder Danae Blodgett of Chaminade.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News). 

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