At the start of this season, West Ranch softball’s Sara Olson was at the bottom of the batting order. At the end of the season, she was the leadoff hitter. Her favorite spot. Her rise to the top of West Ranch softball and a consistent performance with her travel team, So Cal Choppers, earned Olson a scholarship to Long Beach State University. “It was a very competitive school and it’s in a very competitive conference,” Olson said of why she chose to play with the 49ers, who finished fourth in the Big West Conference last season. Olson, a junior, also said she clicked instantly with 49ers coach Kim Sowder, who has been coaching at Long Beach State for 11 years. Last season with West Ranch, Olson had 30 hits, 10 RBIs and a .411 batting average. Wildcats coach Jay Creps was unsure of Olson after meeting her at the start of her sophomore year because she was such a quiet player. But Olson soon proved herself on offense and defense. “Incredible speed,” Creps said. “She played right field and her speed in the outfield was unbelievable. … If she hit the ball in the infield, she would beat it out to first base easily.” And so Olson jumped from ninth in the batting order to first. She also proceeded to steal 12 bases in 26 games for the Wildcats last season. “(Stealing bases is) very nerve-racking because I don’t know how good the catcher’s arm is, but I’m just used to stealing all the time (so I just do it),” she said. This season, Olson is planning on keeping her batting average up and keeping her leadoff spot. When she gets to Long Beach State, she plans to major in criminology and is considering becoming an FBI agent.