Before Rachel Garcia threw 232 pitches to lead UCLA to the College World Series, she was familiar with long days like when she struck out 41 in a day in high school.
Bizarrely, Highland (Palmdale, Calif.) lost in the final of the Thousand Oaks Tournament despite her throwing a perfect game.
Yes, she didn’t allow a walk, a hit, a hit by pitch, and no one reached on an error—but she got the loss thanks to a state rule that places a runner on second base to start extra innings. A wild pitch and bad throw allowed that runner to score the game-winner.
Garcia then injured her knee it the state final, which led to surgery and a redshirt year at UCLA.
On Tuesday, Garcia was named the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year.