Kelly Inouye-Perez on UCLA's WCWS coverage: 'Today's a big day'
In her 16 years as the Bruins softball coach, Kelly Inouye-Perez has seen quite a bit. But Sunday afternoon offered a rare first.
In an 8-0 run-rule win over Florida, advancing fifth-seeded UCLA to the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series, the Bruins were playing in front of not just a full crowd at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City but also a national TV audience. This year, ESPN is broadcasting WCWS games on ABC for the first time. On Sunday, the Bruins played on ABC.
“Being able to have the coverage of softball at this level, it just speaks volumes to where this sport is going,” Inouye-Perez said after the game. “Today’s a big day. To be able to have more than just those ESPN followers be able to see our sport, my hope is they fall in love with it and continue to follow it.
“I want it to be an Olympic sport. This is a great opportunity to showcase how exciting the game can be—offense, defense, pitching, just some big moments. Big for the sport. Great for the growth. More young little athletes that have role models that might fall in love with the sport and hope they can play it and have a dream one day to be on the stage and play just like these girls did today.”
A historic day for the softball world — and it’s only the beginning. 📈
🗣 @Coach_Inouye on the importance of @UCLASoftball playing on ABC for the first time.#BackThePac | #WCWS pic.twitter.com/J65G2jqANR
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) June 6, 2022
The Women’s College World Series finals begin on Wednesday, June 8. UCLA will face top-seeded Oklahoma at 9 a.m. PT on ESPN, hoping to earn a win and force a rematch later in the day for a spot in the championship.