Softball has always been a family affair in the Lindvall household.
Scott and Dana Lindvall's three daughters -- Devon, Janelle and Lauren -- kept their parents busy from an early age. Growing up in the Santa Clarita Valley outside of Los Angeles, the Lindvalls made a big investment in softball and it didn't take long to pay dividends.
In the summer of 2006, spread across three different states in the Midwest, all three sisters won Amateur Softball Association national championships on the same day.
"It was pretty wild," said Janelle Lindvall, a sophomore catcher for No. 1 Oregon.
A few years later, Devon, the oldest of the three daughters, began her softball career at UCLA, where she helped the Bruins win their 11th NCAA national championship as a freshman in 2010.
Devon Lindvall was a fourth-generation Bruin, following Dana, her grandmother and great-grandmother in carrying on the UCLA tradition.
The Lindvalls have rich family lineage in athletics. Janelle Lindvall's great uncle, Chuck Essegian, is one of only two athletes to play in both the Rose Bowl (Stanford) and the World Series (Los Angeles Dodgers).
Devon Lindvall was in the stands at Howe Field earlier this season when Oregon won two of three games against then-No. 1 UCLA. She watched as her younger sister went 3-for-3 with a home run and five RBIs in the opener of a series that proved to be a key point in the Ducks' season.
Oregon took over the top ranking and carried it through the remaining five weeks of Pac-12 play, earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time
The Ducks will face Utah Valley in the first round of the Eugene regional at 5 p.m. today.
"Me and my sisters are very close," Janelle Lindvall said. "Of course we'd love to play with each other, but we had to go with what was best for us."
Coming out of West Ranch High as the top-ranked catcher and No. 9 overall prospect in the 2012 recruiting class, Janelle Lindvall had her choice of college offers.
But her relationships with Koral Costa and Jamie Rae Sullivan -- Lindvall's teammates on the So Cal Firecrackers traveling team -- and the appeal of playing for Mike White was enough to move to the Northwest.
Janelle Lindvall has started all 56 games she's appeared in this season and hit .368 with 12 home runs to earn second-team all-Pac-12 honors. In the final five weeks of the regular season, Lindvall hit safely in 14 of Oregon's 18 games with six home runs and drove in another 21.
She made two errors defensively while working with the Ducks' pitching staff, including 30-game winner Cheridan Hawkins, who was named the conference's pitcher of the year this week.
Lauren Lindvall, a senior at West Ranch who committed to play for Oregon next season, will provide the Ducks with another big bat and easy-going personality.
"I think Lauren had the same outlook as me," Janelle said. "(She) loved Coach White, loved the girls and what the program has been working for. Look where we're at now."
"Now" is a pretty good place to be.
The two-time defending Pac-12 champions are set to host their third consecutive NCAA regional and will have home field advantage until the round of eight.
The Ducks have made it clear this season that qualifying for the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City is the expectation.
Being eliminated at home by an underwhelming Nebraska team in the super regionals last May has been a constant motivator to this year's group.
"The way we ended last year has been a big reminder for all of us not to take anything for granted," Lindvall said. "Like this year's rankings, one through 64 are the same to me. Anyone can beat anyone. Who we play doesn't mean that much to me. It's how we play that I care about."
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