Overcoming the odds
Cal’s softball team brings home top prize


Team captains

Team captains Jocelyn Forest, left, and Candace Harper proudly display the championship trophy after clinching the Women’s College World Series May 27 in Oklahoma City. The win marks the first time a Cal women’s sports team has brought home an NCAA title.
Patrick Merrill photo

05 June 2002 | Though few expected it, Cal’s softball team surged past perennial champs Arizona to win its first-ever College World Series and NCAA title in Oklahoma City last week — also the first NCAA championship won by Cal women in any sport.

The triumph also made a star of Jocelyn Forest, who, despite personal tragedy, pitched a one-hitter in the final game and was named outstanding player of the series.

In the days following the tournament, she was a staple on local TV, radio and in newspapers. She even threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Giants game.

With Forest dominating the mound, Arizona — winner of six national titles — managed only one hit during the game.

The pitcher finished the series with four wins and an .50 ERA. She gave up only two runs in 29 innings and struck out 33.

Forest’s sister was killed in April in a domestic dispute. Her accomplishments on the field are even more remarkable, coming in the midst of such personal tragedy.

Forest said she focused her attention on softball as a way to cope with this loss. Her parents, for the first time in Forest’s collegiate career, were in the stands cheering her on during the final game.

But the championship was definitely a group effort, said head coach Diane Ninemire, with crucial hits by Kristen Morley, Candace Harper and Jessica Pamanian.

“This team plays with heart,” Ninemire was quoted as saying. “I don’t know that we’re necessarily the best team player-for-player, but we are the best team because we play as a team.”

Rowers, cyclists take gold
Cal teams won several other national titles over the weekend.
The men’s varsity-eight crew team clinched its fourth straight national championship June 1, while the women’s varsity eight captured a bronze the following day. See stories online at

And Berkeley’s cycling team, a club sport, took the top prize for the first time. Look for information on this accomplishment on the campus home page — — next week.


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