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Former Bulldog standout plays softball for last time
Monica Hall experienced success at every level during her softball career.

The 2006 Ceres High graduate completed a two-year stint with University of South Carolina Upstate on May 15 in DeLand, Fla.

"It was sad when it was over," said Hall, a senior rightfielder. "I've done this my whole life. It hasn't set in that I'm never going to play again. It will hit me more next year when softball rolls around."

Monica started 53 games this past season for the Spartans, who topped the 40-win mark for the first time during their three-year history at the Division I level and advanced to the title game of the A-Sun Tournament.

"I'm not surprised," Hall said while talking about her team's overall performance. "Everyone is pretty talented."

Monica batted .281 (43-for-153) with two homers, 12 doubles, 21 RBIs, nine runs and three stolen bases. On defense, she made no errors and totaled 15 putouts.

"Last year, I was too worried about succeeding," Hall said. "This season, I went up to bat without any worries. It was my last year. I had nothing to lose. It made the game a little more fun."

USC Upstate ended the 2010 season with an 11-0 loss to Lipscomb in the championship game of the A-Sun Tournament.

Monica accounted for one of her team's two hits while batting fifth in the lineup.

"If we won that game, we would have made it to Regionals, and had a chance to be on TV," Hall said. "We were so close."

USC Upstate (41-15) edged Lipscomb 3-2 two days earlier.

For the fourth straight semester, the Spartans' softball team touted the highest grade-point average (3.593) of any sport at USC Upstate.

Hall and four Spartan teammates had perfect spring semesters.

Monica also earned a 4.0 GPA during her junior year.

"A lot of people forget about school when they play sports," said Hall, who had a cumulative 3.8 GPA at USC Upstate. "It does take a lot of discipline but I've done it my whole life. I do take a lot of pride in it."

Monica accomplished a life-long goal when she earned a softball scholarship to a four-year school. Former Bulldog teammates Meghan Franksen (Cal State Stanislaus), Jennifer Arnold (Cal State Stanislaus), Heidi Eisenbeis (St. Mary's), Kristen Ghimenti (Bethany University) and Vaneza Hoover (Humboldt State) reached their desired objective as well.

"It's something all of us dreamed about doing since we were kids," Hall said. "The CYB league gave us a chance to start young."

Monica played for the Ceres Sizzle and California Grapettes travel ball squads.

A three-year starter at Ceres High School, Monica helped lead the Bulldogs to 59 total wins, back-to-back Modesto Metro Conference titles and playoff appearances every season.

Monica was a first-team, all-league shortstop at Merced Community College during her sophomore year. She batted .320 (49-for-153) with three triples, 11 doubles, 14 stolen bases, 37 runs and 16 RBIs as the Blue Devils went 34-17 on the year, finished in first place in the Central Valley Conference (15-3) and participated in Round 2 of the NorCal Playoff Tournament.

Hall made the Big-8 Conference first team at Modesto Junior College as a freshman. She won 16 games as a pitcher. Monica also hit .348 with one homer, three triples, seven doubles, 16 stolen bases, 27 runs and 26 RBIs. The Pirates placed second in the league standings.

Monica plans to enroll in UC Davis' Physician Assistant Program in the future. Softball will no longer be a priority during springtime.

"It went by really fast," she said. "I worked very hard."