Vikings finish third in PCSC

Senior Megumi Hackett led four Portland State University softball players with post-season honors as the Vikings survived a soggy season to finish their season 19-29.

“This has been the wettest season in my 27 years,” stated head coach Teri Mariani in a recent press release.

The team was only able to practice 10 times on its home field, Erv Lind Stadium, and meteorologists called April the wettest in 50 years. All together, the Vikings lost seven games due to weather.

The Vikings wrapped up the Pacific Coast Softball Conference’s first season with a 10-8 conference record. The team earned a first-place vote but were ranked third in the conference’s preseason coaches poll, as they wound up the season in third place after missing an opportunity late in the season to take over first place. The team’s winning percentage against every conference foe was .500 or better, but Loyola Marymount ultimately claimed the conference title with a 14-5 record. The Vikings finished up just two games behind second-place Santa Clara.

Hackett, a four-year starter at second base, became the first Portland State softball player to earn All-Region honors at the Division-I level.

“I don’t think people realize how big that is,” said Mariani in a recent press release. “She’s the best second baseman ever to come through this program.”

Hackett finished the season batting .318 with a .987 fielding percentage in conference games. The 5-foot-2 Hackett was a machine through her Portland State career and never missed a start.

She joined three other PCSC players on the second team. The rest of the All-Region team came from Pac-10 schools.

Hackett was also voted to the PCSC All-Conference first team, joined by senior pitcher Morgan Seibert and freshman outfielder Maggie DeWall. Junior shortstop Erin Stokey earned a spot on the second team in her first year playing for the Vikings.

Seibert, who earned records for most wins, most strikeouts, most appearances, most saves and most innings pitched by a Viking, went 8-2 in conference play and carried a 0.78 ERA, which led the PCSC. On her last day in a Viking uniform, Seibert pitched a three-hitter against Santa Clara and won her 58th career game to tie her sister Shevaun and Christie Merrill as the all-time winningest pitchers in school history.

The PCSC chose DeWall for one of the first team’s outfield spots. The Vikings’ left-fielder, DeWall batted .295 with three doubles and four runs batted in. She also was nearly perfect on defense.

“I am very pleased with our selections,” stated Mariani in a recent press release. “The three players on the first team were our most consistent players all season and are very deserving.”

Stokey picked up second-team honors after she led the Vikings in hitting by going .364 in conference play, with two home runs and 10 RBIs. She tied for the season lead in team home runs with five and had a 3-4, two-home run, seven RBI game, including her first career grand slam, against Nevada.

The Vikings suffered through their conference schedule with a case of what Mariani called “the splitsies.” Seven times the Vikings split doubleheaders, six of those after winning the first game. The team did beat the Oregon State Beavers for the first time in two years in the second half of a doubleheader May 1.

The Vikings showed that this year’s crop of freshmen could hold their own in a tough conference. Besides DeWall, freshmen Michelle Hext and Tiffany McHenry proved they can play with the big schools.

“Our three freshmen came in and made an immediate impact,” Mariani stated in the press release. “With five players graduating after this season, we needed them to step up and they delivered.”

Saying goodbye to Viking softball are Hackett, Seibert, first baseman Nichole Ivie (who is the Vikings’ career leader in home runs, with 12), pitcher Megan Herscher and outfielder Ashley Tennant.

Mariani watched fielding mistakes ruin the Vikings’ chances for a better record. “Errors, especially early on, took us out of games,” Mariani stated in the press release. “We were certainly a better hitting team this year, but we may not have placed enough emphasis on fielding in the off-season and that will have to change.”