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In a city with big stars, Rachel Garcia is one of the biggest. The UCLA softball phenom is a two-time National Player of the Year and was recently voted the best female athlete in Los Angeles. 

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She’s been called a generational talent who shines as both a pitcher and hitter in the college game which is extremely hard to do.

“I had a lot of coaches tell me that, when I get older, I probably won’t be hitting anymore and that my main priority is pitching,” Garcia told Yahoo Sports. “And it always drove me to succeed at both.”

Garcia hasn’t just succeeded, she has dominated. In 2019, she led the Bruins to the national championship with a 29-1 record and an ERA of 1.14. She also hit .354 while slugging nine home runs. Garcia was named both Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year.

“She competed with fierceness and intensity, whether she was in the circle or at bat,” Jean Lenti Ponsetto, chair of the College Softball Association, toldUSA Today.

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Photo Credit: Instagram

Photo Credit: Instagram

Garcia was ticketed to the 2020 Olympics before the global pandemic forced the suspension of the Tokyo Games. Garcia is a lock to be on the team when the U.S competes in the Olympics some time next year.

“It’s hard to process what’s going on,” Garcia toldThe Daily News. “The world is just in a crazy place right now. The decisions that were made were important to not only just the athletes, but everyone around us as well.”

The Palmdale, California native is scheduled to return to UCLA in the fall and will put an exclamation point on a career that few will ever match. Through all her success, Garcia has stayed humble and grateful for the opportunities she’s had in the game.

“I feel very fortunate, and I know it’s now time for me to start giving back to the sport,” Garcia toldJust Women Sports. “Whenever I get an opportunity, I go out to the local fields in my hometown to watch games or give lessons or help out with practice. Anything I can do to give back, especially since I come from such a small  town where it’s very rare to see athletes come out and be successful.”