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Jennie Finch retiring from softball next month

Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch plans to retire next month and bring an end to a 10-year career in which she helped the sport blossom in the United States.

BY JUSTIN HARPER, Staff Writer, Modified: July 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm •  Published: July 20, 2010

Saying this was the right time and this was the right place, Jennie Finch is retiring from the sport she elevated to new levels.

Likely the most well-known softball player ever, Finch made the announcement Tuesday morning at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The 29-year old, who is in town for the World Cup of Softball, will end her playing career with Team USA when the event ends on Monday. She will finish her professional career in late August after she closes the season with the Chicago Bandits.

“It really hasn’t set in,” said Finch of leaving the game. “It’s been something my husband and I and my family have talked about, but it wasn’t planned. I just decided Friday.

“And doing it in Oklahoma City seems right because this is like home. I’ve been playing here since I was in the 18-and-under national championships.”

Finch also was a regular in OKC during her playing career at Arizona (1999-2002) when she helped the Wildcats reach the Women’s College World Series all four seasons and led the team to the national championship in 2001.

In a 10-year playing career with Team USA, Finch has competed in two Olympiads (2004, 2008), winning a gold medal in 2004. She’s been part of teams that have won three world championships, three World Cups and two Pan-American Games.

Upon learning of Finch’s plans to hang up her spikes, the Amateur Softball Association and USA Softball wanted to get the word out and let the fans know in advance of the World Cup so as to provide a fitting farewell for the star of the sport.

“I was talking with some people about it and they said to go ahead and announce it so I could be sent off in the right way,” Finch laughed. “I just said, ‘I don’t need any of that.’”

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