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James Madison University's Softball Season Ended With A Standing Ovation

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

America loves a good underdog sports story, no matter what sport. And that is why the James Madison University Dukes and their star pitcher, Odicci Alexander, have been the talk of the College Softball World Series.

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UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: There it is. Alexander coming to the plate. And she got her.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Thanks to the pitching and memorable plays, Odicci Alexander and the Dukes made it all the way to the Women's College World Series semifinals, the first unseeded program in the tournament's history to do so. Talk about the ultimate underdog.

KELLY: The Dukes lost last night's game to a top-ranked team, the Oklahoma Sooners, 7 to 1, which meant an end to the Dukes season but not to the crowd's love.

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UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #2: A pitching change and a standing ovation for Odicci Alexander.

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ODICCI ALEXANDER: I mean, it's more than just a game. And to see them all clapping for me and, you know, cheer me on, I mean, it was a great moment. And it warmed my heart.

CHANG: That's Alexander speaking after the game. She threw more than 1,000 pitches during the tournament. And her opponents knew exactly what kind of competitor they were facing. Here's Oklahoma pitcher Giselle Juarez.

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GISELLE JUAREZ: Game recognizes game, and she is a baller. I have mad respect for her. And she gave everything she had. And I think it's really awesome that they did give her that standing ovation. She earned it.

KELLY: In the end, Odicci Alexander said it was a dream come true.

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ALEXANDER: My 9-year-old self - I would've never thought I would've been here because I was honestly on my couch watching this at that age. And, I mean, just being here (laughter), I honestly have no words. But to people who are watching, I mean, I hope I inspired you to, you know, be yourself and be the best version of yourself.

CHANG: Odicci Alexander did play as the best version of herself, from throwing balls at concrete blocks in her backyard to the pitcher's mound at the Women's College World Series. She ends her season a star. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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