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"Tracy's my little blonde bombshell," says Coach Sharron Backus, ignoring the rather obvious fact that Compton isn't blonde. "She's breaking hearts all over campus."
Compton, the hardest thrower in women's softball, has a 21-1 record this season, with 17 shutouts, 162 strikeouts and an 0.04 ERA. At a recent practice she took to the pitcher's circle—there is no mound in women's softball—to show off her style: pink lipstick, a touch of mascara,-a bit of eye shadow, a dab of blush, a whiff of perfume, hair in jumbles of long, thick curls pulled back with barrettes of Bruin blue to match her uniform. "I'm missing a beach party in Malibu right now," she says.
Compton scuffs the dirt and exclaims, "A beach party!" and slaps the ball into her glove. "My stomach was growling so much in math class today that I had to leave early. I was so embarrassed."
Then, faster than you can say little brunette bombshell, Compton winds up and fires her 80-mph fastball. Zzziiippp. She never has to think about her delivery; she just does it.
"If she thought about anything, she wouldn't do well," Backus says. "She'd get all pent up. She just has to do it."
At first it appears that the ball will cross the plate at about the top of the batter's socks, but suddenly it takes off and rises above waist level. Pow. The ball slams into Catcher Shelly Aguilar's mitt. Swwwinnggg. Compton hoots and does a little jig.
"Tracy loves life," says three-time All-America Shortstop Dot Richardson. "She likes herself, and she radiates confidence. She's drinking everything in."
"I like to go out and get it over with," says Compton. "I don't like to overanalyze anything. That's why I'm a math major—there's always one set answer, and it doesn't take long to find it."
Then Compton, who has a 2.6 academic average, does a cartwheel on her way over to the bench. "My fastball can go anywhere," she says, after she stops spinning. "I never know which way my wrist will snap.... Oh, I'm a mess. Let me get my brush.... Did anyone see All My Children?"
Meanwhile, Doom is warming up in the bullpen. She is from Tempe, Ariz. and is shy and analytical. She wouldn't do a cartwheel if she pitched a perfect game. She also hates to dress up. "These are 38-inch legs," she says. "When you have size 11 feet, you live in tennis shoes." She avoids makeup and only combs her hair between innings to keep it out of her eyes.