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That Championship Feeling: ESPN Softball Analyst Jenny Dalton-Hill Reflects On Winning It All

The former Arizona star - a three-time Women's College World Series title holder as a player, once as an assistant coach - offers perspective as she covers 2021 championship


In the video above, former Arizona softball star and current ESPN analyst Jenny Dalton-Hill tells a story about Coach Mike Candrea from her freshman season.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jenny Dalton-Hill was a three-time All-American and 1996 National Player of the Year at Arizona.

She won three national championships as a player and added a fourth as an assistant coach. This week she is back at the Women’s College World Series as an analyst for ESPN. “JDH” took some time to reflect on her experience with the WCWS and offered some advice to the players here this year.

What is it like to now be back at the WCWS with ESPN?
Well, the crazy thing is, this was never on my radar to do the whole TV/ESPN thing. Back in the day, only one game of the WCWS was shown, and that was the championship game. We were just so excited just to be on TV, but to be the one talking about it on TV is a dream come true.

It keeps you in the game, and it gives you the opportunity to give back in a very unique way. You can also celebrate the amazing moments that happen here in Oklahoma City.

What is your favorite memory from the WCWS?
I think it’s hard to quantify just one because when you win multiple, they each have a life of their own. Obviously, the first one that you win is beyond words because it’s something you dream about for so long, and then to have it finally happen is surreal.

I would say the most memorable championship was the 1996 championship because it wasn’t played in Oklahoma City. We were really mad about it because we were the precursor to the Olympic Games in 1996, so we played in Columbus, Ga., at that stadium. Nobody expected us to win. We were the underdogs. We had lost to Washington in the regular season, and we knew we would have to come back and play them in the championship game. To be able to win that one after a season that was full of some tough moments. That one was pretty memorable.

Jenny Dalton-Hill (Kim Elchlepp/ESPN)

What advice would you give to the players here at the WCWS, some who are experiencing this for this first time?
I think if you’re a freshman, it’s just take it in. Make sure you enjoy the moment because the game becomes fast when you’re in this environment and your emotions are so high. Remember to take a breath. Take in the fans. Take in the big plays. Take in the big moments and just relish them because you never know if you’ll make it back. I think that is something that we took for granted every single year because we thought, “Of course, we’ll be back at the World Series.”

But anymore, with the parity in our sport, you don’t know if you will be back the next year. You have to make sure that you take in the moment while you’re here because you may not be back again.

For more on ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s College World Series, visit ESPN Press Room.

(L-R) Analyst Jenny Dalton-Hill, analyst Kayla Braud and host Courtney Lyle report from the set of 7Innings Live. (Kim Elchlepp/ESPN)
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