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Golden Nuggets: Getting to Know Cal Softball's Britt Vonk

After earning its 26th consecutive postseason berth, the softball team has embarked on a quest for the College World Series title.  ESPN recently ran a story on Netherlands native Britt Vonk, who has had a phenomenal freshman year with Cal. She and the rest of the Bears face Jacksonville State on Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Now in her first college season half a world away from her hometown of Enschede, a city about 100 miles east of Amsterdam, Vonk was just 17 when she became the youngest member of the Dutch national team that competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. And just as she wasted little time making an impression on the international stage, going from a surprise inclusion on the Dutch team to the leadoff batter when the team took the field for its first game of the tournament in China, she didn't waste any time establishing herself as a potential All-American, so to speak.

As California travels to the Louisville regional as the No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, Vonk is hitting .414 with a .514 on-base percentage and 25 stolen bases as the full-time starter at shortstop.

"She has taken a very big responsibility, especially playing in the Pac-10, which is the best conference in the country for softball," said California junior third baseman Jace Williams. "She has really embraced her role and shown leadership. Offensively, she is so fast -- she just puts the bat on ball, does her job, makes the opposing defense work, and she really makes things happen for us."

Perhaps the only endeavor in which she has been less than entirely successful is making the Bears bilingual.

"We're always asking her to teach us words," Williams said. "We have cheers, like when we break between innings, we'll do some Dutch cheers. … It's just hard because their language, it doesn't come out naturally for us. They have some sounds that are really hard to pronounce. None of us can really make it sound right."

After the jump JO continues his post-spring practice reviews, Monty's team earns a spot in Wilner's preseason top-25, and men/women's crew prepare for postseason competition.