The spark plug of the Oakdale High softball team plans to ignite some big plays for the University of California, Davis in 2013.
Oakdale senior Kaila Olson signed a letter of intent on Nov. 16 to play softball at UC Davis on a partial scholarship.
Olson inked her intentions in front of coaches, family and friends inside the Oakdale gymnasium on the last day of fall signings.
The signing makes Olson the 20th OHS softball player to commit to a college program since 2001. She joins an illustrious list that includes Mary Brennan, Jamie Terra, Ashley Britt, Liz Esparza, Amanda Mueller, Alyssa Guzman, Nikky Rissetto, Nicole Helms, Alicia Reid, Marissa Drewrey, Missy Corral, Sissy Jimenez, Ashton Brown, Andrea Lutz, Katie Rissetto, Alanna Jones, Danielle Onken, Brianna Parker and Marissa Toy.
Olson, Toy and Parker played big roles in a 22-9-1 season and 3-2 Sac-Joaquin Section playoff victory over Patterson a season ago. Olson played in every game and landed 22 hits and 22 runs on a team second-best 76 at-bats with five stolen bases.
“Of all the girls who have come through the program since I was around in 1980, I have not seen anybody put in the extra time and hard work away from school and travel ball like Kaila has,” Oakdale coach Larry Loger said. “She is very versatile and knowledgeable as a student of the game.”
Olson gained the attention of UC Davis coaches during travel softball tournaments and showed her skills during a summer camp at the university during the summer. It was after the camp that Olson first received an offer, which led to an easy decision.
“UC Davis has been my number one school for four years,” Olson said. “I’m really excited to be a part of the program.”
Olson isn’t the first of her family to reach the collegiate level.
Her mother, Oakdale assistant coach Kelly Olson, played four years of softball for the University of the Pacific in the 1980s, where she was a pitcher. UC Davis and UOP meet three times a year in the Big West Conference, and though mom Kelly admits it will be tough to root against her alma mater, she’s happy with her daughter’s decision.
“She wanted to go UC Davis and it’s a great place for her to be,” Kelly Olson said. “She wants to play there and it all kind of worked out picture perfect for her.”