Following the first Pacific Coast Softball Conference title and NCAA Regional appearance in Portland State history last season, the expectations were high for this year’s squad.
Softball team unable to repeat
Following the first Pacific Coast Softball Conference title and NCAA Regional appearance in Portland State history last season, the expectations were high for this year’s squad. However, the encore performance failed to measure up to the first act, as a daunting schedule and inconsistent pitching contributed to a 23-34 overall record and 8-11 conference mark.
The squad’s 2007 schedule is arguably the most difficult since transitioning to Division I in 1999, as it reads like a list of the nation’s elite teams. Portland State played 14 teams bound for the NCAA Regionals, including three squads–Washington, DePaul and Northwestern–vying for national supremacy in the softball College World Series.
Finding a suitable pitching tandem was also troubling for the Viks. Junior right-hander Mandy Hill finished the season with a 20-19 record, her second straight 20-win campaign, and led the Big Sky with 283.2 innings pitched.
Hill was consistent inside the circle, but Portland State lacked the secondary option that made it a success the past couple seasons. Right-handed freshman Janice Damo and sophomore Jessi Even each pitched a surplus of 30 innings, but inflated ERAs and the tendency to walk batters left the duo with a combined two wins in 25 appearances.
At the plate, Hill was also a dominating force. Adding 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 2007, the junior became the school’s all-time leader in both categories, with 27 and 103 respectively.
The friendly confines of Erv Lind Stadium were especially pleasant to the Vikings in 2007. In head coach Amy Hayes’ two seasons at the helm, Portland State is 23-6 at home, including 9-6 in home tilts this past season. On the road was a different story as the Vikings compiled a 4-16 record.
As a team, the Vikings may have fallen short of their goal to repeat as PCSC champions, however, six Vikings earned All-PCSC honors at the conclusion of the season. Hill, freshman catcher Brandi Scoggins and sophomore second baseman Shannon Stacy were named to the All-PCSC second team. Earning All-PCSC honorable mention honors were senior outfielder Kimi Daniel, sophomore shortstop Jamee Rauch and sophomore first baseman Jana Rae Slayton. Scoggins, who led the team with a .336 batting average, was one of three PCSC Co-Freshman of the Year honorees.
Daniel, Portland State’s career leader in walks with 68, is the team’s lone graduating senior. The Vikings will return 10 players next season, which should be enough for the squad to compete for a conference title once again.