Southland players earn consideration for top softball honors

For the last six seasons, the Amateur Softball Assn. has released a preseason list of 50 players to watch for the USA National Collegiate player-of-the-year award.

Twelve of the players have local ties, and 10 of those attend schools outside Southern California.

Six of the players already have been covered in this space — two each from Arizona and Arizona State and one each from Northwestern and Oklahoma.

Here is a look at how the other four out-of-staters are doing this season:

•  Although Marshall (23-22, 7-11) finds itself in seventh place in the Conference USA standings, junior catcher Rachel Folden (Diamond Bar HS) hasn't slowed down after two stellar seasons at the school.

Folden leads the team in average (.415), slugging percentage (.772), on-base percentage (.562), runs scored (34), walks (38) and home runs (11). She is second in hits (51), doubles (11) and RBIs (39).

Defensively, Folden has picked off eight runners.

•  Washington is in the middle of the tough Pacific 10 Conference standings with a 4-4 record, but the Huskies are 27-11 overall and can play with any team.

Senior second baseman Dominique Lastrapes (Laguna Hills HS), a third-team All-American last season, has started all 37 games in which she has played and is batting .315. Last season she batted .353.

Lastrapes doesn't lead in any offensive category for the Huskies but does have 19 runs scored, two home runs and 23 RBIs.

•  Just ahead of Washington in the Pac-10 standings is Oregon State (33-13, 5-3), which is led by junior utility player Cambria Miranda (Camarillo HS), who mostly plays in the outfield but also at second base.

Miranda, the team's No. 3 hitter, has a team-leading .348 average. She also is first in home runs (eight), RBIs (40), runs scored (39), hits (49), doubles (nine), triples (six), slugging percentage (.667) and on-base percentage (.446).

•  Two-time senior All-American second baseman Veronica Wootson (Fontana Miller HS) is having another productive season for Florida State (31-19, 8-6), which is fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

This month, Wootson, the team's leadoff hitter, hit two home runs in an 8-0 win over Georgia Tech to become Florida State's career leader with 26.

In addition to her power — Wootson has nine home runs this season — she also leads the Seminoles in hits (55), doubles (10), walks (22), runs scored (46) and stolen bases (28) and is batting .335.

Besides the watch-list players at the aforementioned schools, there are a few other locals having outstanding seasons for those teams as well.

At Washington, senior first baseman Dena Tyson (Corona HS) is batting a whopping .472 and also leads the team with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs.

Tyson was the Pac-10 player of the week last week when she went nine for 12 and hit three home runs as the Huskies were 3-1 against the Oregon schools and Portland State.

Tyson, who has a career average of .245, is leading the Pac-10 at .609.

Junior outfielder Lauren Greer (Santa Ana Mater Dei HS) is another Washington player having a solid season. Greer is batting .280 with two home runs and 19 RBIs.

At Marshall, freshman pitcher/outfielder Caitlyn Jackson (Pomona Catholic HS) is third on the team with a .327 average and also has 21 runs scored and nine RBIs. In the circle, Jackson is 2-3 with a 4.30 earned-run average in 27 2/3 innings.

Another freshman who has stepped up is Florida State outfielder Monica Montez (Corona HS).

Montez has played in 31 games, starting 21, and has a .318 average with three home runs and 13 RBIs.

At Oregon State, in addition to Miranda, three other locals are regular starters — all in the infield — for the Beavers.

Senior third baseman Sherina Galvan (Moreno Valley HS) is batting .279 with three home runs and 15 RBIs, sophomore second baseman Paige Lowe (Santa Ana Foothill HS) is batting .292 with 20 runs and six RBIs, and sophomore first baseman DeAnn Young (Camarillo HS) is batting .246 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.

The Virginia Tech softball team canceled games against East Tennessee State and William and Mary on Tuesday and Wednesday in light of Monday's campus shooting in which 33 people died.

The Hokies, however, will, as scheduled, play host to Maryland this weekend in an ACC series as they try to maintain a one-game lead over North Carolina for the conference lead.

Virginia Tech (36-12, 11-3) has two locals patrolling the right side of the infield who play prominent roles in the Hokies' success this season.

Sophomore second baseman Erin Ota (Irvine Northwood HS) and junior first baseman Stephanie Savre (Westlake Village Westlake HS), rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in batting average, and they are two of five players who have started all 48 games this season.

Ota has a .289 average and leads the team in runs scored with 25 and sacrifice bunts with 12. Ota also has seven doubles and nine RBIs.

Savre is one of the team's power hitters with a .286 average and five home runs, which ranks second on the team. Savre is second in slugging percentage (.452), second in runs scored (23), third in on-base percentage (.405), tied for third in RBIs (20) and leads the team with 23 walks.

In Maryland, Virginia Tech will be facing a team that counts seven locals among its roster.

Senior shortstop Amber Jackson (Fontana Kaiser HS) is on the verge of a milestone after Wednesday's doubleheader against George Washington.

Jackson needs one stolen base to become only the 12th player in NCAA history to have at least 300 runs, 200 hits and 100 stolen bases. Jackson, who played her first three seasons at Bethune Cookman under current Maryland Coach Laura Watten, has 328 hits, 246 runs and 99 stolen bases.

Before Wednesday's games, Jackson led Maryland (26-17, 4-7) in batting average (.374), runs (43), home runs (16), RBIs (43), slugging percentage (.878), walks (40), and stolen bases (25).

Junior outfielder Jenny Belak (Pasadena La Salle HS) and senior first baseman Lindsey Klein (Anaheim El Modena HS) also rank in the top five in hitting for the Terrapins.

Belak, who splits time with Jackson as the team's leadoff hitter, is batting .294 with 42 hits and is 13 for 14 on stolen-base attempts. Klein is batting .333 with five home runs and 35 RBIs.

Sophomore third baseman Lindsey Ubrun (Riverside Poly HS) also has played a key role for Maryland, starting 39 games and batting .265 with five home runs and 12 RBIS. Jackson's sister, junior utility player Sarde Stewart (Fontana Kaiser HS), who also transferred from Bethune Cookman, has played in 33 games and is batting .242 with five doubles and 10 RBIs.

Rounding out the locals, junior Meghan Booth (Diamond Bar HS) has played in 24 games, mostly as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement, but has three hits in seven at-bats (.429), with seven runs scored and six stolen bases in eight attempts. Freshman catcher Alex Gagne (Mission Viejo HS) has played in only five games but has been gaining experience this season calling pitches and directing the field from the dugout.


"From Here To There" is a weekly Web-exclusive column that appears Wednesdays. 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: