“I don’t know why everyone is stressing, we are going to win this game,” UCLA sophomore Kinsley Washington continued to reassure her teammates during game two of the Women’s Softball World Series (WSWS). The Bruins were battling against the Oklahoma Sooners for the national title and had defeated them 16-3 in game one of the three-game series.
At the bottom of the seventh inning of game two, the game was in her hands.
Washington was at bat and the Bruins at two outs, junior Jaqui Prober was on second base. UCLA was tied 4-4 with Oklahoma and had an opportunity to win the series.
Washington made a hit, sending the ball flying into left field. Sooners outfielders scrambled for the ball as Prober rounded third base and headed home. The RBI Washington earned from the play made her words a prophecy as it gave UCLA it’s 13th softball national championship.
Washington’s RBI single also got an ESPY Nomination.
“It’s a really cool experience,” she said. “I just like that little girls are looking up to me.”
The Bruins softball team had high expectations for themselves as student athletes. Their team goals were to win the WSWS and for all the players to be on honor roll every quarter.
Along with maintaining good grades Washington is involved in four student groups: The Physician’s Assistant Club, the Black Health Public Organization, the African Student Union, and the Student Athletic Council.
The Physician’s Assistant Club gives her mentors and resources for Premed school while she attends meetings for the African Student Union to talk about the treatment of African Americans on campus. For the Student Athletic Council, Washington attends meetings with representatives from other UCLA games to discuss the student athlete culture on campus. They attend conventions to meet with different people from around the world.
“It’s possible to be a social and educated athlete,” Washington said. “It’s just about managing your time and having the mental toughness to persevere through the little inklings of things that might go wrong during the day.”
Maintaining the winning legacy of the softball team did not come without challenges. Being a utility player, Washington played several positions both infield and out. Washington was assigned to play different positions without time to prepare, this was a challenge for her. During one game, she was assigned to play first base, third base, and shortstop.
“I have not taken a ground ball at [shortstop] in probably two years and I’ve never played third in my life,” Washington said. “At the time, it seemed overwhelming, but now, looking back, they were right, it’s just a ground ball, throw it to first.”
Washington also volunteers for the Natasha Watley foundation as well as for the Girl Scouts of America.
“Being able to connect and being able to share what I learned with a younger group of girls is definitely something I really enjoy,” Washington said. “I think that if I went through something, I can give them advice so they don’t even have to go through what I went through.”