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Odicci Alexander wins Athletes Unlimited softball championship

Odicci Alexander’s Cinderella story just keeps getting better.

Two years after she took the nation by storm and led upstart James Madison to the Women’s College World Series semifinals, she has won the Athletes Unlimited softball championship.

Alexander led the 60-player field with 1,994 points. She edged pitcher Alyssa Denham in the final league standings by just 14 points, making this the closest finish in the league’s four-year regular season history. The individual winner was determined during a 30-game season at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Illinois.

“I can’t begin to describe what this means to me,” Alexander said. “This is the best I have felt mentally. There are so many unbelievable athletes out here, and it’s hard to believe I am at the top of the leaderboard. I am honestly so blessed to be out here as one of the 60 players on this field.”

Alexander is the fourth champion, following Cat Osterman, Aleshia Ocasio and Dejah Mulipola. Osterman retired after the 2021 season. Ocasio finished 16th this season, and Mulipola finished 33rd.

When Alexander entered the league in 2021, she was in awe of getting the opportunity to play with Osterman, one of the all-time greats in the sport. Now, her name is alongside one of her heroes as champion.

Denham finished second for the second straight year. Danielle Gibson, Rachel Garcia and Gwen Svekis rounded out the top five finishers.

Alexander emerged on the national scene by leading James Madison to victories over No. 1 seed Oklahoma and No. 5 seed Oklahoma State during the 2021 Women's College World Series. Her dynamic, energetic play helped ESPN draw record television ratings.

She’s still dominating. Alexander tied for third in the league with a 2.15 earned run average over 13 appearances, including five starts. She ranked third in the league with 42 strikeouts over 42 1⁄3 innings.

Pitcher Megan Faraimo was voted the league’s Rookie of the Year honor. The former UCLA star threw the second no-hitter in Athletes Unlimited history on August 6. Faraimo, the No. 2 selection in the draft, finished 24th in the overall standings.

Infielder Jessi Warren was voted Defensive Player of the Year. Faraimo, corner infielder Delanie Wisz, middle infielders Sis Bates and Josie Muffley, catcher Svekis, outfielders Bubba Nickles, Haylie McCleney and Caroline Jacobsen, and utility player Hannah Flippen joined Warren on the all-defensive team.

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports