May 10, 2012
BERKELEY - After she earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention laurels, Frani Echavarria almost doubled her batting average between her first and second years. In 2010 as a sophomore she was third on the team, batting .339, and was named to the All-Pac-10 team. Last season, Frani was fourth on the squad in hitting and batted a team-high .458 in the NCAA Tournament. The first person in her family to attend college, Frani will graduate with a degree in sociology. Heading into her final Pac-12 weekend, Frani graciously lent some time to CalBears.com to talk about her time in Berkeley.
CalBears.com: What is your best Cal story or favorite Cal experience?
Frani Echavarria: The one Cal experience I'll never forget is putting on my uniform for the first time my freshman year. At that moment - putting on the last team jersey I'll ever wear in my softball career with my number and California on the front - I was finally able to say with pride that I am a Bear!
CalBears.com: What will you miss most about Cal?
FE: I will truly miss my teammates! These girls mean the world to me, and I'm so happy that I am able to share my final year and final season with this special group of girls! Playing alongside of each and every one of them was my deepest honor, I love them all like they were my sisters.
CalBears.com: What are your career plans and what are your plans after graduation?
FE: After graduation I will be looking to attend more school after a well-deserved break! But after school, I'm looking to work with and help kids.
CalBears.com: Has Cal lived up to or has it been different or better than the expectations you had of it as a freshman?
FE: Cal has lived up to every one of my expectations! I was able to learn from very well-known and great professors. I'm leaving Cal with a quality education. I was a part of a very active and at times liberal campus. I was also exposed to very a diverse campus that was rich with different cultures, ethnicities, up-bringings and independent, strong minds.
CalBears.com: What has been the most embarrassing or funny story in your years at Cal?
FE: The most embarrassing story I can recall on my four years here was becoming a three-strike offender in one day my sophomore year. Coach had a new system of keeping track of how many times people messed up - like for example being late, and you were allowed three strikes, and that's it. So that week we were leaving for Hawaii. We had to make sure we picked up our uniforms the day before, which I forgot to do, "strike one." We had to be at the bus at 4 a.m. because we had an early flight, and I woke up late, which was "strike two." As if things couldn't get any worse, I did not have my ID, so my boyfriend had to bring it to me, which was "strike three." I've never felt so embarrassed in my life. It was definitely a lesson learned the hard way. The team still jokes about it till this day.
CalBears.com: What advice would you give to freshmen?
FE: Learn how to manage your time and take a lot of naps. But most of all, never stop working because the minute you do, someone can always take your spot.
CalBears.com: What was the best class you took?
FE: My favorite class I took would have to be Sociology 140 - Politics and Social Change. It was a great class and I learned a lot, and I finished with an A.
CalBears.com: What is your favorite place to eat or go in Berkeley?
FE: My favorite places to eat in Berkeley is Zachary's, where they have Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza, Blondie's pizza on Telegraph, Casa Latina on San Pablo, and Cheese and Stuff has the greatest sandwiches ever. Sam is amazing!
CalBears.com: What memories or games stick out in your mind from your time in the Blue & Gold?
FE: There are two games that I will never forget. The first one is game one of the Lexington Super Regional last year. I hit my first home run of the season, and we ended up winning 1-0. The second game would be this year, when we played Washington we came back and beat them in the seventh inning. I feel like that game was a complete team effort, and we never gave up. That game speaks volumes of our team!
CalBears.com: What does it mean to be a part of Cal softball?
FE: It means that we always give our opponents a great game! We work hard and earn everything we have and get. Our team expects nothing, but we appreciate anything we get, and I'm proud to be a part of a hard-working team. When I came to Cal, I was given a quality education and the opportunity to be a part of a special team. That is priceless to me.