The Portland State fall softball season is more than a short eight game schedule against the likes of Oregon, Oregon State and the National Pro Fastpitch All Stars. The fall campaign is about getting used to new faces out on the field and seeing which players are best at which positions.
The Portland State fall softball season is more than a short eight-game schedule against the likes of Oregon, Oregon State and the National Pro Fastpitch All Stars. The fall campaign is about getting used to new faces out on the field and seeing which players are best at which positions.
Last season, the Portland State Vikings went to the NCAA tournament with a record of 34-18. They also won the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Mountain Division title. With such success last season, the Vikings hope to continue their strong play this fall and into the spring.
The team returns eleven letter winners, six starters and two pitchers to their roster this year, and will also introduce six new players. One of the biggest losses the Vikings suffered was at shortstop, and one of the goals for fall ball is to find someone who can fill in the gap.
“We’re a young team, and we have our good and bad moments,” head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “It’s a little bit of a transition getting used to this new team.”
The Vikings have played five of the eight games on their schedule so far, including a 12-0 win against Concordia. The shutout belonged to pitcher Anna Bertrand, who also pitched in a narrow loss in extra innings to Oregon State earlier in the month.
“Anna has been a very consistent player for us,” Echo-Hawk said. “She’s a very strong pitcher, and she showed that against Concordia and Oregon State.”
The fall season opened with a tough 4-1 loss to Clackamas Community College, but the team would rebound to blowout Concordia 12-0. The Vikings then lost both games of a double-header with Oregon State, losing the first game 1-0 and the second 7-1.
On Tuesday, the Vikings played a double header against the Oregon Ducks at Erv Lind Stadium. In the first game, the rain came down nearly the entire game, although it wasn’t enough of a downpour to cancel the match. The Vikings took an early 1-0 lead, but the Ducks rallied in the fourth inning with a two-run home run and followed that up with another RBI to take a 3-1 lead.
Portland State managed to tie up the game 3-3, but couldn’t push the rally any further, falling to Oregon 5-3 in the eighth. For the Viks, Crysta Conn went 1-3 with two RBI and Carly McEachran went 2-4 with a stolen base and two runs. Also, Bertrand pitched a complete game with three strikeouts. The second game of the doubleheader was called due to rain.
Remaining on the Vikings schedule is a double header against Walla Walla University and a game against the National Pro Fastpitch All Stars. Both matchups will be played at Erv Lind Stadium. The NPF is currently doing their 2011 Back to School Tour, which has stops at colleges all around the United States. Players on the team include Olympic gold medalists Andrea Duran, Kelly Kretschman and Caitlin Lowe.
With three games left, Portland State hopes to learn and gain as much experience as they can. The spring season is right around the corner, and the Viks have a lot on their self-improvement list but are confident that they’ll get things worked out by then.
“We need to see what people can do and who plays well in what positions,” Echo-Hawk said. “We will fix what we need to before spring.”