2012 champ Kayla Braud an analyst for ESPN’s NCAA Softball Championships coverage

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All-Star Lineup
ESPN’s softball analysts are accomplished former players. A look at the analysts, their 2014 Regionals assignments, their alma maters and a career highlight:

Kayla Braud – Lafayette
– College: Alabama
– Honor: National champion

Jenny Dalton-Hill – Norman
– College: Arizona
– Honor: Four-time national champion

Amanda Freed – Los Angeles
– College: UCLA
– Honor: Olympic gold medalist

Jessica Mendoza – Tempe
– College: Stanford
– Honors: Two-time Olympic medalist

Leah O’Brien-Amico – Tuscaloosa
– College: Arizona
– Honor: Three-time Olympic gold medalist

Amanda Scarborough – Tucson
– College: Texas A&M
– Honor: Two-time All-American

Michele Smith – Tallahassee
– College: Oklahoma State
– Honor: Two-time Olympic gold medalist

At Alabama, Kayla Braud created a legacy on the diamond — a three-time All-American, national champion, and a veteran of four NCAA Softball Championships. Now, less than a year removed from her final game with the Crimson Tide, Braud is an ESPN college softball analyst, having made her debut during ESPN’s regular-season coverage.

Braud is keenly aware of the goals and dreams of the 64 teams set to participate in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship. She will be the game analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the Lafayette Regional, which begins tomorrow.

Front Row caught up with Braud to talk about her transition from the playing field – see a clip from her playing days below – to the broadcast booth.

Why have you become a game analyst?
It is no secret I have always loved softball. Also, I believe the exposure the game has received in recent years has really help grow the sport. I am motivated to a part of the continued revolution.

Who did you seek advice from as you began your career as an analyst?
I have had conversations with former players who have made similar transitions. I sought advice from [ESPN softball analysts] Cheri Kempf, Amanda Scarborough, and Michele Smith – people who called my games when I was at Alabama.

I even talked with [ESPN’s Major League Baseball analyst] John Kruk. All have provided me insight, helpful tips and been mentors as I continue to gain more experience.

What is your everlasting memory of playing in the Women’s College World Series?
After we recorded the final out in Game 3 of the 2012 WCWS Finals, I stood out in left field and waited – just for a split second – so I could watch my teammates sprint toward the pitcher’s mound and celebrate our school’s first National Championship.

What is your advice for players about to play in the Softball Championships?
Take mental pictures. There are thousands of players wishing they were seeing what you’re seeing and experiencing what you’re experiencing. Believe me, it is something that you never want to forget. Live in the moment and leave your heart on the field.

EDITOR’S NOTE:ESPN will be the home of the 2014 NCAA Division I Softball Championship presented by Capital One beginning tomorrow, featuring exclusive coverage from seven Regional sites, all eight Super Regionals and through the Women’s College World Series.

In the video below, Braud hits an RBI triple, driving in the eventual winning run versus Michigan in the 2012 Super Regionals, clinching Alabama’s spot in the WCWS. The Crimson Tide would go on to win a National Championship, becoming the first SEC team to win the WCWS.

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