Feast or famine

This weekend was déjà vu for the Portland State softball team. For the second time in as many weekends, the Vikings headed south to participate in a six-game event and walked away with identical records.

This weekend was déjà vu for the Portland State softball team. For the second time in as many weekends, the Vikings headed south to participate in a six-game event and walked away with identical records.

At the UCLA-hosted Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament this weekend, the Vikings matched their 2–4 record from last week’s Kajikawa Classic to bring the team to a 4–8 overall record.

Coach Tobin Echo-Hawk, however, believes the identical records aren’t indicative of a lack of improvement from one tournament to another. 

“As far as comparing this week to last week, we definitely progressed and got better. Our offensive side of the ball started to come together,” Echo-Hawk said. “Overall, it was an okay weekend, [but] wasn’t great.”

The offense that was absent last week showed up at the Stacy Winsberg, but it was feast or famine over the six-game tournament.

In the three games where the PSU offense clicked, the Vikings had nine, 10 and 14 hits and batted .359 for two wins and a loss. Against ranked teams though, the Vikings struggled. Cal Poly and UCLA kept Portland State to a paltry .130 batting average, and with a sputtering lineup the Vikings skidded to a 0–3 record.

A large chunk of the Portland State offense belonged to two players: senior second baseman Becca Diede and freshman center fielder Danielle Lynn. Diede hit .450 for the weekend, clubbing five doubles and stringing together a five-game hitting streak that was eventually snapped in Portland State’s 11–0 loss to UCLA.

Lynn, who made her Portland State debut over the weekend, announced her arrival by batting .333 with five RBIs, and hitting Portland State’s first home run of the season in the process. 

“Last week was our first time seeing live pitching, so it’s just getting timing down,” Echo-Hawk said. “This week we did a much better job of doing that. Now it’s just making sure we’re scoring runs when we get on base.”

The Portland State pitching rotation continued to prove why it is touted as one of the best in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference. Senior Tori Rogers and freshman Anna Bertrand tossed back-to-back one-hitters on Friday and split the games 1–1. Rogers, last week’s PCSC Mountain Division Pitcher of the Week, followed up on nomination by throwing seven innings of one-hit, one-run ball to earn the win over Cal State Northridge.

Echo-Hawk is pleased with the early-season progress her pitching staff has shown.

“They just keep getting better and stronger,” she said. “If they just keep going in the right direction and our bats come alive a little bit more, we’ll have a lot of success.”  

The Vikings lost twice to Cal Poly over the weekend—the same team that ended Portland State’s Cinderella run to the NCAA Tournament last year.

In the first meeting of the two teams this year, Portland State lost 1–0 in an extra-inning battle that featured Bertand’s one-hitter. In the second matchup, Cal Poly cruised to an easy 6–0 win over the Vikings.

Echo-Hawk acknowledged that Cal Poly is a good team, but said the extra-inning loss was frustrating.

“Up until this point that’s kind of been our M.O.—that we beat ourselves. It’s not that we are worse than the teams that we’re facing, it’s just the little things: errors, base running mistakes,” she said.

In a familiar story line, defensive miscues proved costly as the Vikings wasted the best start of Bertrand’s young career. Bertrand threw seven scoreless innings, allowing only the one hit while walking four and striking out nine. The Vikings, who had knocked out nine base hits in a 7–1 victory over Cal State Northridge earlier that day, weren’t able to buy a run for Bertrand despite outhitting Cal Poly three-to-one. 

The game was lost in the bottom of the eighth, with the international tiebreaker rule in effect putting a runner at second to begin the inning.

Bertrand conceded an unearned run after an error by senior first baseman De’Chauna Skinner allowed leadoff hitter Mackenzie Mendonca to reach base. Cal Poly would load the bases, bringing in the winning run on a sacrifice fly. 

“The good thing is that we’re definitely a better team than we’re showing. Our schedule this year is much tougher than it was last year…the record doesn’t really justify how good we are,” Echo-Hawk said. “It just was nice to see our team progress. That’s our whole focus—making sure that we get better weekend by weekend, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament Scores

Portland State 7, Cal State Northridge 1
Cal Poly 1, Portland State 0

UC Davis 3, Portland State 2
Cal Poly 6, Portland State 0


Portland State 12, Cal State Northridge 6
No. 4 UCLA 11, Portland State 0