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Boxers are rewarded for stellar campaigns

Pacific athletes nab three of the NWC's highest accolades

Pacific may not have won a Northwest Conference title in either baseball or softball this spring, but the Boxers were dutifully rewarded last week by claiming three of the conference’s highest individual awards.

On the softball diamond, Pacific swept the conference’s yearly awards, with senior Marissa Reichard being named the NWC pitcher of the year and senior teammate Rachel Roberts earning NWC player of the year honors. Meanwhile, Pacific senior Walker Olis became just the second baseball player in program history to earn NWC player of the year honors.

Both Boxer teams finished in the top four this spring and qualified for their respective NWC tournaments. The Pacific softball team dropped both of its games at the tourney to end its season, while the baseball team went 1-2 at the tournament and then closed out the campaign last weekend with a three-game nonconference series against Willamette.

For Reichard, a 2012 Forest Grove High School graduate, this spring’s NWC pitcher of the year award was the culimination of a tremendous collegiate career.

Reichard set Pacific single-season school records this year for innings pitched (184.1) and complete games (21). She finished with a 17-8 record in the pitcher’s circle, one win shy of a school record. That victory total was also second in the conference this year, as were her 108 strikeouts. The lefthander had an ERA of 2.35.

This was Reichard’s third time on the all-NWC first team. She was also tabbed as a freshman and junior. She missed her sophomore season with an injury. She leaves the program with a 41-20 overall record.

“Marissa has been such a workhorse for us this season,” Pacific head coach Liz Yandall said. “While dominating in the circle, she also consistently put the team above herself and her body, throwing three out of four games each weekend. Not another pitcher in our conference took on that kind (of) responsibility. We are so excited for her to receive this award.”

Only three times in history has a Pacific softball player been named the NWC player of the year, and two of the three plaques have Roberts’ name on them.

The second baseman was also selected as the conference’s top player in 2014, her sophomore season. That season she hit .468 with 47 stolen bases. The only other honoree was Jennifer Sharp-Inman, in 1998.

Roberts hit .445 this season, the second-best mark in the conference. She also led the conference with 36 stolen bases, 15 thefts ahead of the next person on the list. She was caught stealing only four times all year. Roberts scored 42 runs (tied for first), had 11 doubles (fifth) and hit six home runs. Defensively, she had only three errors in 192 chances (.985).

The Oregon City native leaves the program with 131 stolen bases. This is her third straight selection to the all-NWC first team. As a freshman, she was a second team pick.

“Rachel is a great all-around player, she has high standards for herself both on and off the field,” Yandall said. “She is one of the best players to ever come through our conference and this honor is well deserved.”

Olis made some history on the baseball diamond this season, becoming just the second Pacific baseball player to earn the NWC’s top honor.

“It’s a tremendous honor for Walker and well deserved,” Pacific head coach Brian Billings said. “There hasn’t been a time that I can remember where one player dominated the league statistics like he did.”

Olis, a four-year starter and four-year all-NWC selection from Burlington, Wash., led the conference in nearly every offensive category. He hit .435 (first), had 11 home runs (first), 27 stolen bases in 28 attempts (first), scored 56 runs (first), had 43 walks (first) and 45 RBIs (second).

Additionally, Olis was one of the best defensive outfielders in the NWC, making only one error in 104 chances and throwing out six baserunners.

“Walker had great potential when he arrived here as a freshman,” said former Pacific head coach Greg Bradley, who recruited him. “But what set him apart is that he improved greatly each year and went on to make the most of his abilities.”