ROSEMONT, Ill. — Highlands and UCLA graduate Rachel Garcia and Team Denham capped off the Athletes Unlimited Softball Championship season with a 6-3 victory over Team McCleney and a perfect 3-0 in the from the final week of the Sunday Parkway Bank Sports Complex.
Team captain Alyssa Denham, who took her record to 6-0 in the circle, allowed three runs on three hits with one strikeout in four innings before handing the ball to Garcia.
Garcia completed the win scattering just two hits and one walk with three strikeouts in the final three frames, earning his league-record third save of the season. His third save broke a tie for first place on the league’s career roster. She is one of four pitchers with multiple saves in their careers.
Garcia won the MVP 1 award for totaling 196 ranking points in his final outing of the season, while Denham followed with 138 points after receiving MVP 3 recognition.
Center infielder Aubrey Leach and corner infielder Sahvanna Jaquish each had two hits in Denham’s win, while designated player DJ Sanders hit a two-run homer in the first run.
Outfielder Haylie McCleney earned MVP 2 accolade in her final appearance of the season after going 2-for-4 with a single and a double.
Team McCleney’s loss ruined the last game of pitcher Danielle O’Toole’s career. O’Toole, the 2022 AUX softball and 2021 Championship Series champion, capped her career becoming the league’s all-time leader in innings pitched after pitching 5.2 innings. The former Arizona star allowed six runs on nine hits while recording one strikeout.
O’Toole, who threw 100 or more pitches for the fourth time this season, finished his career with 130 innings pitched over three seasons, surpassing the 124.1 innings pitched by Aleshia Ocasio. Her 84 career strikeouts propelled her to third place on the Athletes Unlimited Softball Championship season career list.
In the last match of the season, the Mulipola team edged the Chidester team 10-6.
Team captain Dejah Mulipola was crowned the champion of the 2022 championship season after hitting a triple and a home run and earning MVP 1 honors in the game. She entered the contest 184 points behind Denham in the standings and finished with 1,782 points – 62 ahead of Denham.
This is the first time in the history of Athletes Unlimited that a positional player has won the title.
Mulipola’s performance in the game was the ultimate testament to how she played all season. She finished the year leading the league in the following statistical categories: batting average (.432), on-base percentage (.569), slugging percentage (1.182), home runs (9), RBIs (19) and stat runs. (632 ). It is the very first triple crown in the history of the league.
“It’s so surreal,” Mulipola said. “Everyone contributed to this gold medal. I have so many amazing relationships with players in this league, including Amanda Chidester and Danielle O’Toole, who are veterans in the game and amazing human beings outside of the game.
“I was a rookie last year so I was scared and didn’t really know the ropes of the game in this league. Having this season under my belt and being myself this year has really helped me succeed. .
In her swan song, Amanda Chidester ended her professional career with a two-run home run against Team Mulipola.
Denham finished second overall with 1,720 points, while Haylie McCleney was third (1,650) and Sahvanna Jaquish was fourth (1,600).
Garcia was sixth after the opener, but finished eighth overall (1,558) in his first league season. She finished second in the inaugural AUX softball season earlier this summer.
She finished with the second best ERA of 2.29, behind Denham of 1.94 and was 3-2. She was also second in complete games (3) behind O’Toole’s four. She led the league with 51 strikeouts and tied O’Toole for most games started (7).