In the heart of her senior season, Jocelyn raced home. "I can't tell you how physically exhausting mat week was," recalls her mom. "It was all she could do to get out of bed and take a shower."
But on the next Sunday there was a huge game against defending national champ and top-ranked Arizona. Nobody on the Cal team was sure their star pitcher would be back for the rest of the season, much less one of those games. "At first she was like, 'No way I can throw this weekend," remembers Jocelyn's boyfriend, Rob Truhitte. "But it became, 'I've got to throw Sunday. I've got to be on that field with my girls.' "
That Sunday, one week after her sister's murder and two days after the funeral, Jocelyn Forest threw the game of her life. The riser was soaring. "Everything I threw was just jumping," she recalls. Maybe she gripped it so hard out of fear of losing her grip altogether.
"What were you thinking about out there?" her mom asked that night.
"Erika," said Jocelyn. "I just keep thinking about Erika."
Jocelyn struck out 15 and one-hit Arizona, 2-1. And she didn't stop for a month straight. In the NCAA regionals she pitched every inning, had a 0.87 ERA, and Cal went 4-0. In the World Series the same thing happened: every inning, 4-0, 0.50 ERA, most outstanding player of the tournament. And again she one-hit Arizona, this time for the national title. It was Cal's first NCAA women's championship in any sport. "Winning was just so awesome," says Jocelyn. "We were unstoppable."
Truhitte shakes his head. "The way everything went so perfectly, it's hard to believe Erika wasn't up mere pulling strings for her."
Now comes the hard part. With her college career over, Jocelyn is left with only the long nights, staring at the ceiling until 3 a.m. "I keep thinking about what it must've been like for her," says Jocelyn.
Prosecutors say the case against Jantz could take at least a year to run its course. That's a lot of ceilings. "Jocelyn will get through it," says Cal third baseman Candace Harper. "She's tougher than all of us put together."
Hey, a riser isn't just a pitch, you know.