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Local softball star talks about scoring NCAA Championship-winning run for UCLA

Righetti alum Jacqui Prober reflects back on play

Local softball star talks about scoring NCAA Championship-winning run for UCLA

ORCUTT, Calif. - Two weeks ago, Jacqui Prober of Orcutt scored one of the most dramatic runs in the storied history of the famed UCLA softball program.

Now, the Righetti High School graduate is back at home, reflecting on how she's stamped her name into the history books of what is the NCAA's all-time winningest athletic program.

"I couldn't have dreamed that up," said Prober, an outfielder who just finished her junior season. "I couldn't have written that up in any of my dreams as a little kid."

On June 4 in Oklahoma City, Prober and her UCLA teammates defeated top-seeded Oklahoma 5-4 to win the Women's College World Series.

Prober scored the championship-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 7th inning, just moments after entering the game at second base as a pinch runner.

"I had one job and that was to run the bases and to come up big for my team and that meant the world and I'm just so happy I could do that for my team," said Prober.

If scoring the title-winning run wasn't impressive enough, the manner in how she scored it is already the stuff of UCLA legend.

Prober not only scored the run, she somehow bent her body around the Oklahoma catcher to elude what looked like a sure tag and third out in the inning.

"She had me dead out," said Prober. "It was a shallow ball and the girl came up with a good throw and so I knew I had to get a little to the outside in my running path, so that she wouldn't be able to reach me because she was on the inside of the line and so I knew that I had to do anything that I could to not only get around her, but also be in position to tag home plate."

Once she tagged home plate, the umpire signaled safe and the celebration was on.

It marked the Bruins 12th softball national championship, the most in NCAA history.

"It took me a second to think, that just won the game, but as soon as I saw my team run out, I just tore my helmet off and we dog piled and it was just amazing," said Prober. "It was just surreal to know that our team has worked so hard from day one, putting in the extra work, not taking any days off and to see it pay off in such a big way in the end was really rewarding. Just to know to that we're going to be another team in the history of success at UCLA, it was awesome!"

The game marked a career highlight for the Santa Maria Valley native, who began playing softball at four-years-old in the Orcutt Youth Softball Association.

"I couldn't be more grateful to hopefully make Santa Maria proud," said Prober. "It's been the most humbling experience and it made me proud to represent Santa Maria."

Prober came to UCLA after a star-studded athletic career at Righetti, where she also shined in basketball and volleyball.

"It was an honor to play in that program and also a way for people to play with the people that I grew up with," said Prober.

She also wasn't the only Warrior on the team. Fellow Righetti graduate Stevie Wisz was also a member of the UCLA squad.

Wisz received national attention during the NCAA Tournament when it was revealed she delayed heart surgery to remain with her teammates.

Wisz, who threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Monday night, is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday.

"Knowing that I have a close friend there with me and someone who I played sports with my whole life, I think there was a sense of comfort and familiarity there and to know that we always had each other, through the craziness and the grind of softball and school there, it's been awesome," said Prober.

Prober said she's taking some time off and is spending several days with her family in Orcutt.

Soon, she'll head back to Los Angeles to pursue an internship before beginning her senior year in the fall.

As she spends quiet time out of the hustle and bustle of Southern California, it's giving her plenty of chances to reflect on a play she'll always remember.

"It's just surreal to know that I played even the littlest part in that victory and knowing that I could come up big for my team in the end has made me proud and I just couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity," said Prober.
 


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