Continuing the legacy: Softball finishes with successful season

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After losing several key players from the 2013 season, many were skeptical of how well the team would do in the season but the team rallied together and did not disappoint.

The Boxers rounded out the season at second place in the Northwest Conference with a record of 26-12 in season and 20-9 overall.

The Boxers also finished second in the Conference tournament during the weekend of April 18.

The season marked the twelfth and final season for Head Coach Tim Hill, who announced his retirement before spring break.

Hill’s retirement announcement gave the team a collective goal to finish the season strong and make their coach proud.

In Hill’s tenure here at Pacific University he amassed a record of 264 wins, 197 losses and one tie. This season also marks the retirement of assistant coach, Paul Sabah.

“Tim made this program what it is today, and we wouldn’t be Pacific Softball without him. We were so lucky to have a coach like him and Paul,” said senior, Maddie Collura.

The loss of several key players created a lot of adversity before the season even started but the team turned the doubt into opportunity. With the injury to the Boxer’s first team All-NWC pitcher, Marissa Reichard, the pitching staff was reduced to two.

Senior Sara Aasness and incoming freshman Allie Sims to split the 38 scheduled games.

Coach Hill called his three seniors into his office after they returned from winter break. He did not have much good news for the three girls. To boost the team, Collura hired a personal pitching coach over winter break to learn to pitch.

Since there were no softball seniors graduating after the 2013 season, the entire core of Pacific’s lineup was returning to the diamond.

Collura’s addition to the pitching circle lit a fire under the team and gave them a newfound confidence for the season.

The confidence increased when the Boxers doused Northwest University in the Feb. 2 home opener. After that, the team flew to Texas, where they won five of their six games against Austin College, Howard Payne University, and Southwestern University.

The Boxer’s first nonleague loss came when they split a doubleheader against Southwestern, but the loss did not substantially affect the team’s determination.

The Boxers won their first two league games against Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound. However, a wet March caused a few of Pacific’s games to be rescheduled and even cancelled. The wetness seemed to put a slight damper on things as the Boxers went 9-7 in March.

The losses to Willamette and Linfield discouraged the team, removing some of the confidence they had worked to build. The team needed something to bring them back together, something to rally for.

When Coach Hill announced his retirement, the team knew whom they needed to fight for. In the first half of April, they won eight out their nine games. They picked up two wins from PLU and UPS, one from Whitworth, and three from George Fox University, while losing one to George Fox.

Their successful month was what pushed them to take second in the NWC.

The team then entered the NWC Championships. After ousting Whitworth two times to eliminate the Pirates from the tournament, the team fell to Linfield College in the Conference Championship.

As a team, the Boxers batted .313 with 315 hits, fifty-three of them doubles, seven triples and twenty two home runs. They stole 120 bases and outscored their opponents 216-172. Around the diamond they had a fielding percentage of .956 with only forty-six errors.

The Boxer’s three pitchers had an estimated run average of 4.09. They threw 251.33 innings in which they struck out 136 batters.

Six Boxer softball players received All-Conference honors for their feats in the 2014 season.

Becca Moen, Rachel Roberts and Kylee Oshiro were awarded first team All-NWC for outfield, infield, and catcher respectively. Aasness earned second team All-NWC for pitching. Ashley Mitchell and Kaitlyn Shikada collected honorable mentions, both for their accomplishments in the infield. Roberts, a sophomore, was also named the NWC Player of the Year.

Pacific Softball was ranked fifth in the nation in stolen bases per game.

The team broke two team records, while individual players broke three more. They amassed120 stolen bases in 2014, held by the 2006 team with 110. Also the team’s four saves in 2014 tied the record set in 2011.

Aasness’ sthree saves tied the University record, which was held by Amy Walters in 2006. Roberts shattered the Pacific single season stolen base and hitting records, both of which were previously held by Stephanie Vanoudenhaegen in 2011.

“We plan to do just as well, if not better in league next year,” said sophomore outfielder Megan Winans. “We also want to welcome our new coach to Pacific.”

Even though the team lost three seniors and its head coach, a significant core is returning to Sherman/Larkins stadium in 2015, the team continues to strive for greatness.

“All of these people mean so much to me,” said Collura. “I never felt so much love from my team, coaches, family and friends. It meant so much that they did what they did for us.”


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