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Lisa Fernández is known as the world’s best softball player. Fernández is a solid third baseman and a powerful hitter who has thrown numerous strikeouts in international play since joining the national team in 1990. Most Americans remember her helping the United States win the first Olympic gold medal in softball in 1996 and pitching the team to a successful defense of its title in 2000.
|Date of Birth
|22 February 1971
|Place of Birth
|Long Beach, California (USA)
|Antonio Fernandez (Father)
Emilia Fernandez (Mother)
|1.86 meters (5 feet 7 inch)
|Married to Michael Lujan
Lisa Fernandez’s Early Life
Lisa Fernandez was born on February 22, 1971, in the California town of Lakewood. Her mother Emilia Fernandez was of Puerto Rican descent, and her father Antonio Fernandez emigrated from Cuba, where he played baseball. Fernandez’s mother played stickball, a street game similar to baseball played with a broomstick and a rubber ball, with her brother (Lisa’s uncle). Fernandez began playing softball when he was eight years old.
She began playing in a local children’s league when she was twelve years old. She tried out as a pitcher, but her coach told her she wouldn’t make the team because she wasn’t the right size or build. Nevertheless, Fernandez joined the girls’ softball team at St. Joseph High School and won the CIF Championship with her teammates.
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Starting Lisa Fernandez’s softball Career
After graduating from high school, she went to UCLA, where Lisa Fernandez played softball and earned a psychology degree. From 1990 to 1993, Fernandez was a member of the UCLA basketball team. Fernandez won the Honda Award three times and was the first softball player to win the Honda-Broderick Cup in 1993, given to the best collegiate female athlete in all sports. In addition, Fernandez was a four-time first-team All-American who led UCLA to two national titles (1990 and 1992) and two runner-up finishes (1991 & 1993).
Lisa Fernández had already competed in and won numerous international tournaments with the official USA softball team before she left UCLA. After graduation, she continued to do so, amassing a 14-0 global pitching record when the first Olympic softball tournament was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996. In the decade leading up to those Olympics, the American team had a 115-1 record and was heavily favored to win the gold medal.
Lisa Fernández was one out away from pitching the first perfect game in Olympic softball history. Team USA was 5-0 in round-robin play, the only undefeated team, and they were playing Australia in their sixth game. The first four innings of the game were scoreless. Then, in the fifth inning, Dani Tyler of the United States hit a home run over the fence. Tyler should have hit a home run, but the Australian team claimed he didn’t step on home plate, and the umpire agreed.
The tiebreaker rule, which allows each section to put a runner on second base at the start of their half of the inning, went into effect after nine scoreless innings (the regulation in Olympic softball is seven).
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The US took a 1-0 lead in the top of the tenth inning on an unearned run. To win, Lisa Fernandez only needed to strike out three Australian batters. She struck out two batters and had two strikes on the final batter, Joanne Brown, when Brown hit the final pitch out of the park for a two-run home run and the victory.
The United States went on to win gold, as expected. However, Lisa Fernandez was still upset about the loss to Australia, especially after someone sent her an anonymous postcard four months later with a picture of Brown celebrating her victory on the shoulders of her teammates and the message “See you in Japan.” However, Fernández exorcised her demons in Australia by pitching a shutout and hitting a home run in the first inning.
The United States team was favored going into the 2000 Sydney (Australia) Olympics, with a 110-game winning streak, but the victory did not come as quickly in Sydney as it had in Atlanta. During the round-robin portion of the tournament, the team lost three games in a row to Japan, China, and their arch-rival Australia.
The match against Australia was eerily similar to their round-robin match in 1996: Lisa Fernández set an Olympic record with 25 strikeouts in the first 12 and two-thirds innings, allowing only one hit and no runners to reach base. She won in the bottom of the thirteenth inning when an Australian batter hit a home run off of her. Fernández then ordered her entire team, uniforms and all, into the showers to wash off the “voodoo.” It appears to have worked because the US went on to win all of their subsequent games. They won gold by defeating China, Australia, and Japan in that order in the playoffs.
Fernández continued to play professional softball with the National Pro Fastpitch League (formerly the Women’s Pro Softball League) for several years to win a third Olympic medal in Athens, Greece, in 2004. “I want to be able to stay in the sport after I retire,” she told Kevin Tran. Her old team, the UCLA Bruins, has hired her as an assistant coach. “And if coaching is what I’m meant to do, I’ll do it whether it’s at UCLA or abroad. Softball is in my blood and something I enjoy doing, and I intend to contribute to the sport once my playing days are over.”
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Lisa Fernandez’s Personal life and husband
In 2002, Lisa Fernandez married Michael Lujan, and in 2005, their first son Antonio was born. Fernandez lives in Long Beach, California, with her family. Fernandez currently works as an assistant coach for UCLA’s women’s softball team. After being ejected from a Bruins’ Women’s College World Series game in 2017, she was suspended for two games for bumping an umpire.
Lisa Fernandez’s Networth
Lisa Fernandez has made a good living as a professional player. She is also estimated to have a net worth of $1 million. She earns an annual salary of around $50,000 on average. Fernandez has kept her other sources of income a secret. She has also added several properties to her name, but we do not have that information.
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