For Tobin Echo-Hawk, whose first season as head coach of the Portland State softball team is winding down, there is plenty to be proud of. There is the fact that her team is currently in the top spot in the conference with a record of 12-4 and has won six of its last eight PCSC matchups.
For Tobin Echo-Hawk, whose first season as head coach of the Portland State softball team is winding down, there is plenty to be proud of.
There is the fact that her team is currently in the top spot in the conference with a record of 12-4 and has won six of its last eight PCSC matchups, putting them in prime position to secure the title at Loyola Marymount this weekend.
Then there is the outstanding performance of her pitching duo Tori Rogers and Nichole Latham, who have combined for a 1.97 ERA in league play, the best in the conference.
And of course there is the stellar offense of senior Jackie Heide, whose solo home run in last weekend’s win over St. Mary’s placed her in a tie for the school’s all-time career mark of 31 set by Mandy Hill (2005–08).
But more so than any of their gaudy statistics, Echo-Hawk is proud of the team’s winning mentality, which she believes has vaulted them to the top of the conference standings.
“A lot of people counted us out, and the team took that personally,” she said. “They had something to prove to everyone, but especially to themselves. I’m proud of them for keeping their focus and getting it done.”
With Sacramento State serving as their closest competition at 9-6 with one weekend of play remaining, the Vikings need only to win two games out of the four-game series against Loyola Marymount to clinch the conference championship.
But in keeping with their mantra of playing one game at a time, the Vikings are not going to be focused on scraping by with the PCSC title.
“They’re not interested in just winning two of the games. They want to win the whole series,” said Echo-Hawk. “And they know that it’s a big weekend for both teams.”
The Lions have been a perennial powerhouse in the conference since its inception six years ago. In that span, they have won three championships and have amassed the best overall record of 84-35. They have also defeated the Vikings in nine of their 12 overall meetings at Smith Field in Los Angeles.
However, the Lions have fallen on hard times as of late, losing six of their last eight games and dropping into a tie for third place with San Diego. Still, Echo-Hawk knows that they are a team that has sent a conference-high 50 home runs over the fence this year, and expects them to be ready to spoil Portland State’s championship plans.
“The Lions have been known as a powerful team all season,” Echo-Hawk said. “Just because they had a bad series last weekend doesn’t mean it will carry over to the next. Both teams know that anything can happen.”