|Born||September 9, 1974 (age 42)
Garden Grove, California, U.S.
Leah Marie O'Brien-Amico (born September 9, 1974 in Garden Grove, California) is an American, former All-American, left-handed-hitting softball player from Chino, California. O'Brien-Amico is best known for playing for the Arizona Wildcats (1993–1997, winning three National Championships) and earning gold medals at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
O'Brien-Amico was named to the First Team All-Pac-10 for her freshman efforts. At the 1993 Women's College World Series, the Wildcats faced rival UCLA in the finale and with the only hit allowed, she drove in the game-winning run off Lisa Fernandez. It was Arizona's second title.
Returning to defend their title at the WCWS, O'Brien-Amico hit .750 (9/12 with 5 RBIs, a home run and two doubles) to set the tournament record for batting average. Eventually the Wildcats were able to successfully defend their title, besting the Cal State Northridge Matadors on May 30, 1994. O'Brien-Amico was perfect at the plate (3/3) and scored two runs against pitchers Jennifer Richardson and Amy Windmiller to be named All-Tournament.
For her junior year after red-shirting for the Atlanta Olympics, O'Brien-Amico earned all-season honors for a third straight year. She broke the school record for doubles and her 101 hits was a top-5 record. She still ranks top-10 all-time in both categories.
With her third straight appearance in the WCWS finals, O'Brien-Amico and the Wildcats again faced the UCLA Bruins but were defeated 4-2 on May 29, 1995. O'Brien-Amico went 2/3 with an RBI and was again named All-Tournament. The title was later vacated by the NCAA due to rules violations.
She earned her final First Team All-American and All-Pac-10 honors. With a career best .467 average, O'Brien-Amico collected 99 hits to rank top-5 for both stats and remains in the top-10 all-time for the Wildcats.
Concluding her finals streak at the WCWS, O'Brien-Amico won her third National Championship over the UCLA Bruins and was a perfect 2/2 with two RBIs and two base on balls against hurler Christa Williams. She also scored two of Arizona's 10 runs in the mercy rule victory. She was named to the All-Tournament Team for a third series.
With combined stats from previous seasons, O'Brien-Amico had a WCWS career of .563 (31/55) with 19 RBIs, two home runs, 4 doubles and 7 walks, striking out just once with a slugging percentage of .745%. She also hit safely in 17 of 18 games, being shut out just once by Melanie Roche and the Oklahoma State Cowgirls on May 30, 1993. Beginning the next game of that doubleheader day with the ULL Ragin’ Cajuns, O'Brien-Amico went on a 15-consecutive-game hit streak ending with her title in 1997.
For the Athens Olympics, O'Brien-Amico was the only collegiate athlete selected to the roster and hit .300 in 7 games and was perfect at right field. To open her Olympics career, O'Brien-Amico went 2/3 with a walk in a 10–0 mercy-rule win over Puerto Rico. She did not play the gold medal game.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics she hit under .250 for the tournament. O'Brien-Amico nabbed hits in games with Italy, Japan, China and Australia running September 23–25, 2000. She drove in her only RBIs in a 6-0 win over Italy and in the gold medal game was shut out by Japan, though Team USA won 2-1 on September 26.
On the "Aiming For Athens" Tour, O'Brien-Amico hit .386 with 43 RBIs, 5 home runs and 9 doubles. Facing the Stanford Cardinal on February 20, 2004, O'Brien had a tour-high 3 RBIs on a home run to eventually win 9–0. In the Olympics, O'Brien-Amico had a tournament-best 2 RBIs off Melanie Roche of Australia on August 15; the US eventually won 10-0 run-ruling the Australians. She would equal her performance vs. Greece on August 19.
In the August 23 gold medal game, O'Brien-Amico had a single as the United States defeated Australia 5-1 to close out their dominating tournament in victory. She hit .200 for her final international tournament.
In 2002, O'Brien-Amico was inducted into the University of Arizona Hall of Fame. She now lives in California with her husband Tommy and three children. She currently works in the ministry and occasionally offers color commentary for ESPN.
University of Arizona
Awards and honors
- Three-time NFCA First-Team All-American (1994, 1995 and 1997)
- WCWS National Champion (1993, 1994 and 1997)
- 3-Time Academic All American
- 3-Time First-team All-Pacific Region
- 4-Time All-Pac-10
- 3-time ASA All-American
- 1996 Atlanta Olympics Gold Medalist
- 1997 NCAA "Woman of the Year" (State of Arizona)
- 1998 ISF World Championships Gold Medalist
- 1999 Pan American Games Gold Medalist
- 2000 Sydney Olympics Gold Medalist
- 2002 University of Arizona Hall of Fame
- 2002 ISF World Championships Gold Medalist
- 2003 Pan American Games Gold Medalist
- 2004 Athens Olympics Gold Medalist
- "Leah O'Brien-Amico". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved June 21, 2015.