Softball projected to finish fourth in conference

Boxers currently hold a 4-7 record in the conference

Joey Balleweg

As the 2020 season begins, the Pacific University softball team looks to continue their success and make a push for the Northwest Conference title. 

The Boxers finished the 2019 season with 23 wins, the program’s most since the 2016 season. The strong year landed the Boxers in fourth but their year ended with an 8-4 loss in the conference tournament to George Fox.

“The team has potential to do extremely well this year. We have a lot of returners so our team chemistry is at an all time high,” said  Junior shortstop Jill Uyeda

 Projected to finish fourth in 2020, the Boxers currently hold a 4-7 record, opening the year losing to games NAIA opponent Oregon Institute of Technology. The Owls, currently ranked eighth in the nation, beat Pacific 6-2 and 4-0. Junior Montana Vaught doubled in the only two runs on the weekend in the final inning of the first game. 

Uyeda believes the team needs to keep three ideas in mind to take home a conference championship.

“Selflessness, consistency, and grit,” said Uyeda. 

The Boxers showed these traits in their series against Warner Pacific University. After a shortage of runs to start the season, the Boxers opened the floodgates Feb. 8 against the Knights. The Boxers scored eight runs and beat the Knights in five innings. Pacific scored seven runs on seven hits in the first inning. Junior Nicole Martinez led the team with two hits and Senior Katelyn Macaitis-Smith had the only extra bases hit of the game, a double in the fourth inning. Sophomore Riley Pattinson held the Knights to only one hit over five innings. 

Morgan Masters seems to be the Boxers number one pitcher again in 2020, pitching 30.2 of the 71 innings the Boxers have played ad holding a 2.51 ERA. 

Uyeda believes the team needs to keep three ideas in mind to take home a championship.

“Selflessness, consistency, and grit,” said Uyeda. 

To continue their success in the Northwest Conference, the Boxers will look to their veteran upperclassmen to lead the way. Counting players with at least 50 at bats in 2019, Junior Haley Miller returns after leading the team with a .415 batting average, while Vaught led the team in runs batted in with 41 and 17 extra base hits. Five players, with at least 50 at bats, held a batting average over .320. 

With Masters and Pattinson back on the mound, and the Boxer bats alive, talent is not what stands between them and a conference title, only execution. 

Pacific begins conference play this weekend on the road against projected first-place team Linfield.