Kempner HS product playing for UCLA's softball team on playing in WCWS: 'This has been my dream'

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Saturday, June 1, 2024
Kempner HS product playing for UCLA's softball team on playing in WCWS: 'This has been my dream'
"This has been my dream," the Sugar Land native, who is an outfielder for UCLA's softball team, told ABC13 on playing in college softball's biggest stage. UCLA takes on Oklahoma in the 2024 WCWS at 2 p.m. on Saturday on ABC13.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (KTRK) -- Seven of the eight teams in the field of the 2024 NCAA Division I Women's College World Series feature a roster with at least one player who attended high school in the greater Houston area. On Saturday, when ABC13 broadcasts UCLA vs. Oklahoma, as many as four local products could be on display.

The Sooners' roster features three girls who attended high school here in our area: Kelly Maxwell, Kasidi Pickering, and Avery Hodge.

There's only one Texan on UCLA's roster and she's from Fort Bend County. Lauren Hatch, a Kempner High School product from Sugar Land, is a junior outfielder for the Bruins. She scored a run in Thursday's World Series-opening win against Alabama.

Via Zoom from the World Series in Oklahoma City, Lauren told ABC13 how playing on national TV on college softball's biggest stage is not only a major milestone - it's a full circle moment.

"This has been my dream since I don't even remember how little I was," Hatch, who is majoring in applied math, recalled. "I remember being in the right field stands and rooting on whoever was winning. So being able to be in the dugout and be on the field and seeing the crowd, it is really a dream come true. I remember making a sign and we'd hold it up in the outfield and cheer the teams on in 100 degree weather."

While OKC is not Texas, Hatch says it's as close as she can get while playing for a school located in Los Angeles.

"It feels great being back in OKC," Hatch, who also reached the 2022 WCWS with UCLA, noted. "This is the closest we'll ever play to home, so all of my family drove up. Both of my parents, my two younger sisters are here. My former travel ball coach is here. And I have numbers of people texting me good luck."

Hatch and UCLA will face three-time reigning national champion Oklahoma at 2 p.m. on Saturday live on ABC13.

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