The NCAA Division I softball regionals begin this weekend with 64 teams taking their first steps for what they hope will be a championship.
Two of the 16 four-team regionals started Thursday, with the others beginning Friday.
As promised, this week we will take a look at selected seniors with local ties, but we will focus only on those schools that weren't fortunate enough to reach the postseason.
Many of these players, however, did end their careers on individual high notes.
Catcher Rachel Bartholomew (Mission Viejo HS/Santa Margarita HS) of Providence was selected to the Northeast Region first team to become the first player in school history to earn the honor in consecutive seasons.
Bartholomew also was a first-team All-Big East pick after leading the Friars (23-24) in numerous offensive categories, including batting average (.391), hits (59), doubles (11), home runs (11), runs batted in (41), slugging percentage (.682) and on-base percentage (.446).
Bartholomew also holds school records in home runs (39), RBIs (152), hits (214) and average (.328)
Outfielder Jeanine Baca (La Habra Sonora HS) closed out her career with another solid season, batting .374 for Bowling Green (33-12), which finished second in the East division of the Mid-American Conference.
Baca has played in nearly every game since her freshman season, when she earned second-team All-MAC honors. She was the only Falcon to play in all 59 games in 2005 and then started 59 of the team's 60 games as a junior.
This season, Baca led the team with 43 runs and 12 doubles, and had six home runs and 19 RBIs.
Pitcher Kelsey Anderson (Lakewood HS) started fast at Eastern Kentucky, earning Ohio Valley Conference freshman of the year honors in 2004, throwing 21 complete games and 10 shutouts.
This season, Anderson closed her career as the Colonels' top pitcher again, making a team-high 34 appearances and posting a record of 12-16 with a 2.83 earned-run average. Anderson had 176 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings.
Anderson also was third on the team with a .276 batting average, four home runs and 27 RBIs.
Eastern Kentucky finished 24-30 and tied for fourth in the conference.
Lehigh (35-18-1) dominated the Patriot League with a 17-1 record but failed to win the league tournament title for the first time in four years when it lost to Colgate in the championship game.
Still, two seniors with local ties helped the Mountain Hawks to a fine regular season.
Catcher/infielder Lauren Haney (Manhattan Beach Mira Costa HS) was second on the team among starters with a .346 average and led the Patriot League with 41 RBIs. Haney also had four home runs and was a second-team Mid-Atlantic All-Region selection.
Senior pitcher/infielder Heather Hamasaki (Glendale HS) played in 51 games for Lehigh, batting .278 with 24 runs, 29 RBIs and a team-leading 12 doubles. In the circle, Hamasaki made only two appearances and was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA and nine strikeouts in seven innings.
Michigan State (33-26) finished seventh in the Big Ten Conference and had two seniors with local ties helping lead the way.
Outfielder/second baseman Nicole Mercado (La Habra Sonora HS), a second-team All-Big Ten pick as a sophomore, played in 55 games and batted .278 with one home run and 20 RBIs.
First baseman Dayna Feenstra (Lakewood Artesia HS) capped her final season by again starting in every game for the Spartans, making it 234 in a row overall. Feenstra batted .259 with 24 runs, seven home runs and 23 RBIs.
Another Big Ten school, Minnesota (24-22), featured a former local player who was mostly a relief pitcher in her first three seasons but became the regular third baseman for the Gophers in 2007.
Mandy Valadez (Redondo Union HS) finished with the team's second-highest batting average (.294) and also had seven home runs and a team-leading 31 RBIs.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, outfielder DaQuenta Johnson (Chino Don Lugo HS) batted .266 in 53 games with two home runs and 17 RBIs for Purdue. Teammate Erika Peterson (Irvine HS) batted .215 in 64 games with three home runs and 20 RBIs at catcher.
At Wisconsin (27-20), infielder Athena Vasquez (Newport Harbor HS) batted .284 in 44 games with 11 doubles, two home runs and 23 RBIs.
Hampton (36-13) had a disappointing end to its season as the top-seeded Pirates were upset by North Carolina A&T in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.
But catcher Jennifer Gonzales (Colton HS) capped her career by starting in 48 of the team's 49 games and batting .336 with a team-leading 10 home runs. Gonzales also had 34 RBIs and a .572 slugging percentage.
Speaking of North Carolina A&T, Adia Dial (Riverside North HS) batted .273 in 54 games for the Aggies (30-30) and had an RBI in the upset win over Hampton. Dial also had two home runs and 29 RBIs on offense, and was 11-12 with a 5.51 ERA in 35 appearances and 129 2/3 innings as a pitcher.
San Diego had three seniors with local ties on its roster this season as the Toreros went 24-26.
Pitcher Christina Haake (Goleta Dos Pueblos HS) led the team with a 10-10 record in 27 appearances. Haake also had a 2.62 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 128 innings.
Utility player Danielle Treiber (Santa Ana Mater Dei HS) was one of four players to start all 50 games for San Diego. Treiber batted .268 with three home runs and 21 RBIs.
First baseman/third baseman Alicia Massei (Chino Hills Ayala HS) batted .202 in 43 games with one home run and 18 RBIs.
Indiana State (21-26) finished in the bottom half of the Missouri Valley Conference standings, but senior catcher Stephanie Spychaj (San Pedro HS) had a solid season.
Spychaj played in 34 games and batted .291, tying for second-highest on the team. She also had two home runs and 12 RBIs.
Fellow senior Jessica McGivney (Tujunga Verdugo Hills HS) batted .253 this season with eight doubles and 10 RBIs.
Second baseman Kelley Brethscher (Ontario Christian HS) and catcher Kristin Talamantes (Burbank HS) closed their careers with decent seasons for Mercer.
Brethscher played in 59 of the team's 60 games and batted .237 with 25 runs, one home run and 16 RBIs. Talamantes, whose sister Lindsay is a sophomore for the Bears, played in 56 games and batted .207 with one home run and 15 RBIs.
Outfielder Brittany Freight (Placentia El Dorado HS) has played internationally for Canada but also has had a fine career at Nevada Las Vegas.
She was an All-Mountain West Conference selection as a junior after batting .274 with 55 hits.
This season, Freight batted .287 for the 37-27 Rebels with 22 runs and 13 RBIs in 64 games.
Shortstop Megan Zwoyer (Woodland Hills El Camino Real HS) completed her career by leading Towson (25-31) with a .320 batting average in 2007.
She was the only player on the team above .300 and the only one to start all 56 games this season. Zwoyer also led the team in hits with 58 and had 11 doubles, five home runs, 21 RBIs and 25 runs.
Villanova shortstop Sheri Donley (Villa Park HS) finished second on the team with a .337 average in 54 games for the 25-31-1 Wildcats. Donley also had eight doubles, a team-leading eight home runs and 28 RBIs . Candace Hildebrand (Moreno Valley Valley View HS) led Tennessee State (35-23) with a 17-13 record in the circle and had a 2.02 ERA in 152 1/3 innings. Hildebrand also was second on the team in batting average (.284) and was the leader with 22 RBIs . Kelly Lombard (Woodland Hills El Camino Real HS) had a .315 average in 51 games for Texas El Paso (28-23). The shortstop also had eight home runs and tied for the team lead with 38 RBIs . Iowa State was 24-40 and infielder Kristen Karanzias (Placentia El Dorado HS) played in 49 games, batting .208 with 10 runs scored and 11 RBIs . Shaterra Davis (Carson HS), an outfielder and utility player for Bethune Cookman (22-36), finished her season with a .296 average and had four home runs and 32 RBIs . Outfielder Mandy Kumamoto (West Torrance HS) had a .285 average for Northern Iowa (19-31) with five doubles and 12 RBIs in 50 games.
Utility player Christie Sotelo (Mission Hills Alemany HS/L.A. Valley College) batted .276 in 32 games for Missouri Kansas City this season . Pitcher Danielle Ellement (Newbury Park HS) had a 6-2 record in 16 appearances with a 4.11 ERA in 49 1/3 innings for Monmouth (31-18) . Outfielder Ryanne Hodgins (Burbank Burroughs HS) batted .268 with five RBIs in 44 games for New Mexico (20-25) . Pitcher Jessica Skaare (Aliso Niguel HS) was 2-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 15 appearances for Quinnipiac (18-25) . Catcher Caitlin Carroll (Fullerton Rosary HS) batted .250 in 41 games with one home run and a team-leading 22 RBIs for Sacred Heart (16-28) . Christina Voth (Orange Lutheran HS) led Stony Brook pitchers with a 1.32 ERA in 20 appearances. Voth was 7-5 in 69 innings . Third baseman Stephanie DeLaRiva (Glendora St. Lucy's HS) started all 65 games for Wichita State and batted .226 with one home run and 22 RBIs . Infielder Melody Ross (Long Beach Millikan HS) batted .203 in 25 games for Morehead State (21-32).
"From Here To There" is a weekly web-exclusive column that appears Wednesdays during the academic year. If you are aware of a former area prep standout competing in sports and excelling at the collegiate level or elsewhere, please let us know. Send any leads, tips or ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times