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Throwback Thursday: Arizona Softball All-Decade Teams (1990s)

Oct 28, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. -- From team success – eight national championships, 23 trips to the Women's College World Series, 18 50-plus win seasons – to individual accomplishments – five national players of the year, 105 All-Americans, 10 Olympians – Arizona softball's tradition and history can stack up with just about any program in any sport at any level.
 
Softball royalty has walked in and out of Hillenbrand Stadium for decades, with some of the sport's best players composing some of the sport's best teams over the last four decades.

Over four Throwback Thursdays, ArizonaWildcats.com will reveal All-Decade Teams from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. The teams were selected based on honors, prioritizing All-Americans, while taking into account all-conference and all-region recognitions. Some positional flexibility was used where needed and careers that spanned multiple decades were placed based on fit.

Oct. 22 » 1980s
Oct. 29 » 1990s
Nov. 19 » 2000s
Dec. 3 » 2010s
 

In the 1990s, Arizona Softball enjoyed a run of championship success unlike many other programs in any sport at any level. 

The Wildcats won five national championships in the 90s, finishing first or second in the Women's College World Series every year from 1991 to 1998. 

After coming up just short the three years prior, the Wildcats took home the title in 1991, winning the first women's team NCAA championship in school history with a 56-16 record, defeating top-ranked UCLA in the title game.

Following a second-place finish in 1992, Arizona went on to win back-to-back national titles in 1993 and 1994 and again in 1996 and 1997. Just a runner-up finish to UCLA in 1995, a title that was later vacated, kept Arizona from a five-peat in the heart of the 1990s.

Over the decade, Arizona posted an almost incomprehensible total record of 586-83 (.876), with a perfect 10 Women's College World Series appearances, the five NCAA titles and five Pac-10 championships. Forty-nine players were named All-Americans, averaging nearly five All-Americans per year, a staggering figure. Three Wildcats were named National Players of the Year during the 1990s -- Susie Parra (1994), Jenny Dalton (1996) and Nancy Evans (1998).     
 

        

THE PLAYERS

P Susie Parra (1991-94)

  • National Player of the Year in 1994, Arizona's first recipient of the award
  • Three-time All-American
  • Second in Arizona history with a 0.63 career ERA and owner of two of the top three individual seasons in UA history, including a 0.30 ERA in 1992, lowest in school history
  • Was the first Wildcat to win 100 games, and currently sits sixth in school history with 101 career victories
  • Struck out 874 batters in her career, fifth most in school history
  • Tossed 61 career shutouts, third most in UA history, including eight no-hitters, tied for second most
  • Her .918 career winning percentage (101-9) is third best in NCAA softball history and second best among pitchers with over 1000 wins
  • Three-time all-region and all-conference performer
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999

 
P  Nancy Evans (1994-95, 97-98)

  • Named the National Player of the Year in 1998
  • Holds the NCAA record for career winning percentage (.939)
  • A two-time first-team All-American pitcher
  • Helped lead UA to two NCAA Championships and was named all-WCWS three times, including the MVP in 1997
  • Her 124 wins rank second in UA history
  • Posted the fourth-lowest career ERA in Arizona history (1.28) Yellow Ball Era (1994-present)
  • Struck out 733 batters, eighth most in UA history
  • Threw 53 shutouts in her career, fourth most all-time, including five no-hitters
  • Hit 51 doubles in her career, tied for seventh all-time in school history
  • A recipient of the Pac-10 Medal and a nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year in 1998
  • Named all-Pac-10 all four years
  • An Academic All-American in addition to her on-field honors
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Competed for Team USA from 1997-99

 
P Debby Day (1991-92)

  • Two-time All-American during her two-year career
  • Arizona's all-time leader in career ERA (0.44) and had ERA of 0.50 or lower in both of her seasons in Tucson
  • Threw 22 shutouts in 1992, tied for the most in Arizona history
  • A two-time all-conference and all-region pitcher
  • Helped lead Arizona to its first NCAA title in 1991 and was a two-time all-WCWS pitcher
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997

 
C Leah Braatz (1994-95, 97-98)

  • Arizona's first ever four-time first-team All-American, one of two in UA history
  • Has the second most RBI in NCAA history (322) and tied for the fifth most home runs (85)
  • Led the NCAA in both home runs and RBI in both 1997 and 1998
  • Two-time NFCA Catcher of the Year (1997-98)
  • Two-time national champion and three-time all-WCWS performer
  • A finalist for the Honda Award in 1998
  • Is currently ranked in the UA career top-10 in nine different categories (297 hits – 9th, 59 doubles – 2nd, 85 home runs – 3rd, 322 RBI – 2nd, .797 slugging percentage – 4th, 250 runs scored – 5th, 173 walks – 2nd, .991 fielding percentage – 8th, 1,330  putouts – 5th)
  • A four-time first-team all-region and all-conference performer
  • The 1994 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year
  • A Team USA member in 1997
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003

 
1B Amy Chellevold (1992-95)

  • Arizona's first ever four-time All-American
  • Two-time national champion
  • Sixth in Arizona history with a .415 career batting average
  • Was the first player in Arizona history to hit .500 in a season, hitting .504 in 1994
  • Second in Arizona history with 371 career hits
  • Also top-five in Arizona career history in runs scored (252 – 4th) and (113 – 5th)
  • Her 30-game hitting streak in 1994 remains the longest in UA history
  • Her 122 hits in 1994 rank third most in NCAA history
  • Scored 89 runs in 1995, fifth most in NCAA history
  • Led the NCAA in hits (122) and runs (88) in 1994
  • A finalist for the 1995 Honda Award
  • Four-time first-team all-Pac-10 performer
  • Received the 1995 Pac-10 Medal
  • Three-time all-WCWS performer
  • A member of Team USA from 1997-2001
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000

 
2B Jenny Dalton (1993-96)

  • National Player of the Year in 1996, when she became the only player in Pac-12 history to win the conference Triple Crown (.469 avg, 25 home runs, 109 RBI)
  • Holds the NCAA record with 328 RBI, helped out by three seasons with 90-plus RBI
  • Scored 293 career runs, the most in Pac-12 history, including a 101-run season in 1995, the most in NCAA history
  • Holds the Arizona career record with 178 walks drawn
  • Three-time first-team All-American
  • One of, if not the single best hitter in Arizona history; hit 76 home runs, fifth most in Arizona history
  • Led the NCAA in home runs (25), RBI (109), walks (64) and runs scored (84) in 1996
  • A four-time first-team all-conference and all-region performer
  • A three-time national champion and the 1996 WCWS Most Outstanding Player
  • Slugged .967 for her career, third highest in school history
  • Seventh in Arizona history with a .412 career batting average
  • Hit 51 career doubles, tied for seventh in UA history
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001

 
3B Leticia Pineda (1995-98)

  • The only player in Arizona history to be named an All-American at three different positions (catcher, first base, third base)
  • A three-time first-team All-America, all-region and all-conference performer
  • A two-time national champion and an all-WCWS performer in 1998
  • Drove in 240 runs in her Arizona career, tied for eighth most in Arizona history
  • Slugged .686 in her career, ninth highest in Arizona history
  • Was the third player in Arizona history to hit 50 home runs and currently sits tied for 13th in UA history and 31st in Pac-12 history with 52 career home runs  
  • Her 96 RBI in 1996 are tied for the fifth most in Arizona history
  • Hit 17 doubles in 1996, tied for ninth most in a season in school history
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004

 
SS Laura Espinoza (1992-95)

  • One of the best power hitters in the history of the sport
  • Hit an NCAA-record 37 home runs in 1995
  • Also set the NCAA RBI record in 1995 when she drove in an amazing 128 runs; her 37 home runs and 128 RBI have not been touched in the quarter century since it was set
  • Is the only player in Arizona history with two 30-plus home run seasons, hitting 30 as a junior and 37 as a senior
  • Is third in NCAA history with 315 career RBI and tied for fifth in NCAA history with 85 career home runs
  • A three-time All-American
  • Named the College Sports Player of the Year in 1994 and the Fastpitch World Player of the Year in 1995
  • A three-time national champion
  • Was the first player in Arizona history to slug over 1.000 when she slugged 1.004 in 1995
  • Sits fifth in Arizona history with .766 career slugging percentage
  • Led the NCAA in both home runs, RBI and total bases as both a junior and a senior
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000

 
OF Lauren Bauer (1998-01)

  • One of just six four-time All-Americans in UA history
  • A four-time all-region and all-conference performer
  • Recipient of the 2001 Pac-10 Conference Medal
  • A national champion in 2001
  • Hit .411 in her UA career, ninth highest batting average in Arizona history
  • Had 349 career hits, fifth most in UA history, including a 104-hit season in 2001, fifth most in UA history
  • One of the most prolific base stealers in UA history; stole 133 bases, third most in Arizona history, including three of the top-10 individual seasons in school history
  • Holds the school record with six hits in a game (vs. UCLA, 5/6/00)
  • Led the NCAA in both hits (104) and runs scored (81) in 2001
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006

 
OF Alison McCutcheon (1995-98)

  • One of the best slap hitters in NCAA history; is the only player in NCAA history with over 400 hits (405) in her career
  • Has two of the top four individual season hit totals in NCAA history; her 132 hits in 1997 remain an NCAA record, her 117 hits in 1998 are the fourth most in NCAA history
  • Holds the Arizona and Pac-12 record with a .466 career batting average, third highest in NCAA history
  • Led the NCAA in both hits and runs during both his senior and junior seasons
  • A three-time first-team All-American
  • Was named back-to-back Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1997 and 1998
  • Helped lead Arizona to back-to-back national championships in 1996 and 1997, earning all-WCWS honors both years
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004

 
OF Nicole Giordano (1998-01)

  • A three-time All-American outfielder in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons
  • A four-time all-conference and three-time all-region performer
  • Helped lead Arizona to the 2001 National Championship and was a member of the all-WCWS performer
  • Hit .411 in her career, eighth highest batting average in Arizona history
  • Recorded 359 hits in her career, third most in Arizona history
  • Scored 238 runs in her UA career, tied for eighth most in UA history
  • Her 81 career steals rank sixth in school history
  • Hit .424 as a freshman, the fourth best freshman figure in school history

 
UTL Leah O'Brien (1993-95, 1997)

  • A three-time first-team All-American
  • The only three-time Olympian in school history
  • A four-time first-team all-conference player
  • Helped lead Arizona to three national championships and was a three-time all-WCWS performer
  • A recipient of the 1997 Pac-10 Medal
  • A three-time Academic All-American
  • Hit .428 in her Arizona career, third best in Arizona history
  • Her 338 career hits, sixth most in Arizona history
  • Ranks fourth in school history with 53 career doubles

 
AT-LARGE (P) Carrie Dolan (1994-97)

  • A two-time All-American pitcher
  • A three-time all-Pac-10 pitcher and two-time all-region pitcher
  • One of seven pitchers in Arizona history to win 100 career games; ranks fourth in UA history with 103 wins against just 13 losses
  • Led the NCAA in both 1995 and 1996 in victories
  • Has the seventh best career ERA in the Yellow Ball Era (1.58)
  • A three-time national champoin
  • Threw three career no-hitters

 
AT-LARGE (3B) Krista Gomez (1993-96)

  • A second-team All-American third baseman in 1996
  • Tenth in Arizona history with 376 assists
  • A three-time all-Pac-10 performer
  • Three-time national champion
  • An all-WCWS performer in 1993

 
AT-LARGE (OF) Jamie Heggen (1991-93)

  • A two-time All-American, earning second-team honors in 1992 and first-team recognition in 1993
  • Helped lead the Wildcats to two NCAA titles in her three seasons
  • Second in Arizona history with 18 career triples, including a nine-triple season in 1992, the second most in school history
  • A three-time all-conference and all-region outfielder
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998

 
AT-LARGE (P) Becky Lemke (1998-01)

  • Has the third lowest career ERA in school history during the Yellow Ball Era (1.25)
  • Fifth all-time in UA history with 103 wins (against just 19 losses)
  • A third-team All-American pitcher in 1999
  • Her 916 strikeouts are the fourth most in school history
  • Threw 44 shutouts in her career, fifth most all-time, including six no-hitters
  • A three-time all-Pac-10 performer
  • Helped lead the Wildcats to the 2001 national championship

 
AT-LARGE (OF) Brandi Shriver (1994-97)

  • Named a second-team All-American in 1996
  • A three-time NCAA Champion and a 1995 All-WCWS performer