Ihave pondered a time or two in this column the importance of an athletic gene pool when considering athletic excellence.
Giving Mom or Dad some credit, or Grandma and Grandpa, or even further back than that, seems a reasonable thing to do.
Last week, for example, I wrote about West York High School baseball players Brandon and Brett Kinneman, sons of former Central League pitcher Greg Kinneman, and Carson and Tucker Fries, great-grandsons of Central League Hall of Famer Gordy Snyder.
It doesn't always work that way, of course. It's a hard thing to figure out.
Sometimes the guys/girls you'd think would have the best baseball (or pick your sport) bloodlines in the world can't play worth a darn. Many times they don't like baseball at all.
Sometimes the best players have no identifiable baseball gene pool to draw from. They more or less are drawn from a blank slate.
And sometimes the best baseball players you've ever seen produce children who excel in soccer or bowling.
Heck, sometimes the gene pool actually jumps a generation or two -- from grandfather to granddaughter, for example.
That's apparently what happened in Evie Rentzel's case.
Rentzel, 19, is the daughter of Jeff and Kay Rentzel of Dillsburg. She played softball for and graduated from Northern High School last year.
She was named to the Mid-Penn Conference Colonial Division I First Team All-Star team, and was an All-State Class AAA softball team selection. Evie also played for the Newtown Rock Gold where she helped lead her team to second place at the 2011 ASA Gold 18U Nationals.
But here's the important thing: Evie also happens to be the granddaughter of Central League Hall of Fame pitcher/player Lee Rentzel.
For those of you under the age of 40, Lee Rentzel is one of the finest players to ever wear a uniform in the Central League. Actually he wore a few of them during the six decades he played and coached in the league -- Manchester, Stoverstown and Jefferson, for example.
And now his granddaughter is tugging on his coattails as a freshman outfielder for the Central Connecticut State University softball team.
The Blue Devils made their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Women's Softball Tournament this spring after putting together an impressive 36-15 overall record (16-4 in conference play).
In the NCAA Regional Tournament, Central Connecticut lost to LSU 3-2, then beat Northwestern State, 9-1, before bowing out of the tourney in an 11-0 loss to LSU.
For her part, Rentzel made several impressive diving catches in left field, while going four-for-eight as a hitter, scoring two runs and garnering one RBI.
Rentzel posted a .500 batting average in the weekend tournament, had a .500 slugging percentage and a .556 on-base percentage.
All of that was good enough for Rentzel to be named to the NCAA Baton Rouge All-Regional Team.
And it wasn't like she just had one good weekend, either.
She played in all 51 of Central Connecticut's games this year -- one of just five players on the team to do so -- registering 53 hits in 141 at-bats, good for a .356 batting average. And she was the third-best run producer on the team, scoring 28 times and producing 34 RBIs.
She also hit five home runs, four triples and eight doubles in building a .596 slugging percentage and a .426 on-base percentage.
In other words, Evie Rentzel can flat-out play.
Maybe Grandpa Lee had something to do with that, and maybe he didn't.
Either way, I'm thinking Lee must be an awfully proud Grandpa these days.
Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thursdays. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.