Ally Carda is looking to lead her USA Softball teammates to victory at the Tokyo Olympics. And for an example on how to do so, she’s relied on her partner and 2004 gold medalist, Kelly Kretschman.

A pitcher and infielder with Team USA, Carda had a distinguished college career with UCLA as a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year and First-Team All-American in 2014. However, her journey to the Tokyo Games was not without roadblocks.

As recently 2018, Carda was relegated to the USA Softball B team and the next year, she only qualified as an alternate for the Pan American Games.

In order to take her game to the next level, she turned to Kretschman to work on her mental skills and the results paid dividends.

“[She] has been a huge part of my life and my softball journey,” Carda revealed to Softball America’s Kayla Lombardo, “She’s just helped me with my confidence and my demeanor on the mound. She’s helped me take it to the next level.”

Ally Carda shows a Tokyo Dome crowd that Shoei Ohtani’s not the only two-way player on the planet.

The work with Kretschman came to fruition in October 2019, when USA Softball officially named Carda to the team headed to Tokyo. Upon hearing the news after all the effort she put in, Carda let out a joyful scream in her car.

With her focus on the Olympics, Carda continued to consult Kretschman about her experiences winning gold in Athens and silver at Beijing to get a better sense of the challenges that await Team USA.

“She’s shared a lot of her stories with me, which has been awesome,” Carda said. “But now that it’s actually here and real and I’m going to be living it, I definitely think her advice and guidance will be a huge part of it. She just gets it.”

This past Pride Month, in further tribute to her partner, Carda posted a rainbow-accented picture of the pair to Instagram and pledged, “I love [Kelly Kretschman] x infinity.”

Hopefully after Tokyo, she can post another pic of the two comparing gold medals.