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1,300 miles from Santa Clarita, Foothill vets reunite at College World Series

Posted: June 3, 2013 9:58 p.m.
Updated: June 3, 2013 9:58 p.m.

Valencia graduate Madison Shipman is joining with Hart grad Melissa Brown as the Volunteers look to win their first NCAA title. Photo by Andrew Bruckse/Tennessee Athletics.

It’s hard to ignore the parallelism of it all.

Five years ago, on June 2, 2007, Madison Shipman won a CIF-Southern Section Division I championship with the Valencia Vikings.

On June 2, 2013, Shipman’s Tennessee Volunteer defeated Texas to secure a shot at another championship, this time on a grander stage.

She’s not alone, though.

In the opposite dugout on that 2007 day at Colonial Bill Barber Park in Irvine sat Hart’s Jessica Shults and Melissa Brown.

Now, all three — Shipman and Brown with the Tennessee Volunteers and Oklahoma’s Shults, along with Williams — are competing for the NCAA Divison I title during this week’s Women’s College World Series Championship round in Oklahoma City.

Heading into Game 2 today, the Sooners hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series after defeating the Volunteers 5-3 after Oklahoma rallied in the 11th and 12th innings to spoil a Shipman three-run home run in the top of the 11th inning on Monday.

In the 11th, Canyon graduate Brittany Williams doubled to right-center to drive home the Sooners' first run of the inning.

“It’s just so crazy that four of (the players) are all from the same area in California. How we’ve played with and against each other our entire lives. It really is crazy to think about,” Brown said.

For Brown in particular, it’s a special moment.

The senior is likely playing in the final softball games of her career, and is finally getting a chance at the elusive ring she’s craved.

“It’s so cool to be able to play with Madison instead of against her and it’s so cool to know I started my softball career playing with Jessica Shults. And it’s cool now I’m going to end it playing with her, but also against her.

It would be incredibily amazing. I know she has that ring for CIF high school and it’s so great, but to be able for her to get another one even bigger than that, and me to get my first ring, I think that would be so cool to share that with her,” Brown said. “She got a little feeling of what winning a championship is like, and I think that would be great to be able to share that for my first time and her second.”

For Shipman, the memories are impossible to ignore.

“It’s funny, I actually was looking at our 10 and under (Hart softball league) picture, the team me and Jessica and Melissa all played on when we won nationals and it was cool to see the friends I grew up with all playing in this game,” she said.

The trio haven’t exchanged many words over the course of the Women’s College World Series, according to Brown. Oklahoma has played in the game following Tennessee’s at ever stage, allowing for simple offerings of congratulations.

Now, though, they can’t avoid each other.

During Monday’s game one, Shults fired a bullet to second baseman Georgia Casey to pick off the runner from first base.

The runner?


In the bottom of the ninth with the scored tied 0-0, Shults was up with the bases loaded and one out.

She sent a ground ball to none other than her former high school teammate Brown at first, who fired home to keep the Volunteers alive.

1,300 miles away from the SCV, four locals are as close as ever.


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