UCLA Softball: Maya Brady Finishing Career With "Family" at College World Series

The Bruins great is carving her own path to glory.
Ross Turteltaub/UCLA Athletics

Senior shortstop Maya Brady waited for her classmate Sharlize Palacios to finish her on-camera interview with ESPN after the UCLA Bruins punched their ticket for the Women’s College World Series and gathered with her, center fielder Janelle Meoño, and left fielder Jadelyn Allchin to soak in the moment.

The four Southern California natives met as 12-year-olds playing travel ball for the legendary travel ball club, the Orange County Batbusters. They played together through graduation and then went their separate ways for the freshman year of college. Palacios and Meoño went to Arizona, Allchin headed north to Washington and Brady stayed home to play at UCLA.

They were only apart for a few years before reuniting with Brady in Westwood finishing their careers the way they started – together.

“It feels so nice to be able to do this with her (Brady). We’ve really come a long way since travel ball,” Palacios said during her postgame press conference on Friday night while fighting back tears.“It feels so rewarding to just be able to hug them and say we’re going to finish it at OKC.” 

Brady has been integral to UCLA since she arrived on campus during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. She announced her arrival to the collegiate game when she smashed a three-run home run at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., against the United States Women’s National Team. 

Back-to-back seasons, she has been named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year.

Her friends, never jealous of the spotlight she plays under because of her family, have been her biggest cheerleaders. By now, they all consider each other family.

“It’s just so fun to play with your sister and knowing that you have family that has your back, it’s the most rewarding thing,” Palacios added. “And I know I have trust in her and support from her. It’s awesome to be able to look at her at short and be able to give her that hug afterwards and say we’re making it to OKC.”

The road to the WCWS was bumpy for the Bruins, they began the season at 3-4 which was the program’s worst start since 1986. However, they managed to turn it all around in a hurry and now, the Bruins enter the World Series on a 13-game winning streak. 

UCLA opens the WCWS on Thursday at 9 a.m. PT against Alabama on ESPN.

More UCLA: Read Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Touching Salute to Bill Walton


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Maren Angus-Coombs

MAREN ANGUS-COOMBS

Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite being raised in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer for the LA Sports Report Network.