After posting a conference record of 15-5 and capturing the PCSC crown, the Vikings have some time to reflect while they await the announcement of their NCAA match-ups. They might be planning on how to keep up the momentum from their stellar regular season, in which they went 29-24 overall and were among the league leaders in every statistical category.
After posting a conference record of 15-5 and capturing the PCSC crown, the Vikings have some time to reflect while they await the announcement of their NCAA match-ups.
They might be planning on how to keep up the momentum from their stellar regular season, in which they went 29-24 overall and were among the league leaders in every statistical category.
They also might be congratulating their first-year head coach, Tobin Echo-Hawk, who led the team to its second ever conference championship despite being projected to finish fourth in a pre-season coaches’ poll.
But you can be sure that many of them are thinking about the last time they wore the conference crown in 2006, the freshman season for four of the team’s current leaders.
For Jamee Rauch, Jana Rae Slayton, Jackie Heide and Jessi Even, last weekend’s clinching of the title against Loyola Marymount in their final regular season series was all the more sweeter for having done it once before at the beginning of their careers.
Rauch, a native of Keizer, Ore., made an immediate impact upon her arrival at the Park Blocks in 2006, starting 52 of the 58 games at second base.
The next year her game blossomed and she was given All-PCSC honorable mention honors. As a senior, Rauch has established herself as one of the most consistent hitters on the team, registering a team second-highest 56 hits on the year.
Hailing from Portland, pitcher Jessi Even has been a constant presence with the team since graduating from Clackamas High School as an All-State athlete. In her four seasons with the Vikings, Even has filled the role of reliever well and earned three PCSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll selections for academic performance.
The Vikings’ resident iron woman, Slayton holds the school’s record for most games played at 226, all consecutive starts at first base. Throughout her four years she has worked tirelessly on her game, becoming one of the team’s premier hitters and fielders, as evidenced by her 54 hits, 30 RBI, and .333 batting average this season.
With her grand-slam blast in the third game against Loyola this past weekend, Heide became PSU’s all-time slugging leader with 32 homeruns over her career. Her 12 so far this season is matched only by former teammate Mandy Hill (2005-08) as the single season record. She’s also near the top of the record lists in RBI, runs, games played, and bases on balls.
The Vikings are also led by seniors Kristin Wilson and Jenna Wilson, both transfer students coming to the South Park Blocks last season. Jenna Wilson has contributed a major boost to the Viking offense, connecting for 43 hits and bringing in 22 RBI. Kristin Wilson has also been a force on both sides of the game, knocking in 22 RBI while boasting a fielding percentage of .992.
The six seniors form the core of the Vikings’ team that has risen to every occasion thus far in 2009. On May 9, when the NCAA tournament schedule is officially announced, they will set their sights on making this year’s squad one of the best in Portland State history.