They’re sprinkled on softball rosters from coast to coast, making their college teams better with their presence and performance, just the way they did in the Trinity League.
Noelle Hee drove in runs in her first two at-bats with the University of Washington this season, then hit a grand slam the next day. The freshman from Orange Lutheran had four home runs overall through April 7, helping the Huskies emerge as the top-ranked team in the nation.
Rosary graduate Kolby Romaine is one of the top players for Missouri. She hit .325 with 21 RBIs as a sophomore last season, helping the Tigers to their school-record 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
An early highlight this season was Romaine’s three-run double in a 7-3 win against Mississippi State during a three-game series to open SEC play.
Missouri is scheduled to play at South Carolina in a conference series April 20-22, and the Gamecocks are led by Orange Lutheran grad Mackenzie Boesel, a sophomore second baseman who was hitting .372 through the first 38 games this season, second-best on the team, with four home runs and 11 doubles.
Boesel was one of the best players for South Carolina last season as well, leading the Gamecocks in hitting (.341), home runs (10), and RBI (41) while starting every game. South Carolina reached the NCAA Tournament for a fifth straight year.
As is the case with many athletes from the Trinity League, Boesel has been better than advertised.
“Her transition to Division I softball was really smooth,” head coach Beverly Smith said on the team web site. “She was a kid that I knew had really good bat control. When I was recruiting her, she was always a tough out. I knew she would be an everyday player for us. Initially, I thought she would be a good hitter near the bottom of the lineup because she would be a bat-for-average kid. What surprised me the most was the power.”
Boesel was surprised with her performance last season as well. After all, she had just three home runs as a senior at Orange Lutheran in 2016.
“I always have high expectations for myself to perform well,” Boesel said. “I definitely exceeded my expectations, especially in the home run department. I’m not typically a home run hitter, but I always expect to perform well and help out my team.”
Another former Trinity League player who’s having a fabulous season is Jenna Cone, a sophomore first baseman at George Washington University in Washington D.C.
Cone was hitting .440 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs in 32 games through April 5.
More notably, she won three consecutive Atlantic-10 Player of the Week honors last month, becoming the first player to achieve that distinction in 18 years, and the first in program history.
Even though Cone is 3,000 miles from home, she has plenty of company on the Colonials.
Her older sister, Jayme, is a junior pitcher for the George Washington, and sophomore catcher Priscilla Martinez is a graduate of Mater Dei.
Martinez was hitting .382 through April 5 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 32 games
Just down the coast at Boston University, Santa Margarita graduate Alex Heinen is also a starting catcher. She was second-team all-Patriot League as a sophomore last season and has significantly improved her offensive numbers this season.
Through April 1, she was second on the Terriers with a .348 batting and led the team with 40 hits and 26 RBIs.