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Jennie Finch, at WCWS: Mike Candrea 'is like a second father to us all'
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Jennie Finch, at WCWS: Mike Candrea 'is like a second father to us all'

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Former Wildcat ace Jennie Finch throws batting practice for Team USA as they warm up to face Arizona in an exhibition game at Hillenbrand Stadium, February 18, 2020 Tucson, Ariz.

Jennie Finch and other Arizona Wildcats softball greats are in the stands for Thursday's Women's College World Series opener, supporting a coach who is rumored to be retiring after the season.

Finch told ESPN that Mike Candrea "is like a second father to us all," and choked up briefly during her TV appearance during the bottom of the third inning of the UA's game against Alabama. Candrea, Arizona's coach for more than three decades, is making his 24th appearance at the WCWS. He and the Wildcats have won eight national championships.

"We’re so happy to see him back in Oklahoma City, where he belongs," Finch said in a televised interview.  

The UA pitching legend was asked what message she would send to the 65-year-old Candrea, who many are speculating will retire at the end of the world series.

"We're just so thankful for who he is and what he’s done, and he’s done it the right way," Finch said. "We love him so dearly and we’re so thankful for the man that he is."

The Arizona Wildcats softball team punched its ticket to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City for the 24th time in program history, after the UA outlasted Arkansas, 4-1, to win the Fayetteville Super Regional title on Saturday.

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