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Pacific athletes pick up national accolades

Spring sports season provides plenty of reasons for the Boxers to get excited


One needn’t look any further than Forest Grove to find some of the best baseball and softball players in the Northwest Conference — and the country — this spring.

Pacific softball stars Rachel Roberts and Forest Grove native Marissa Reichard, the NWC player and pitcher of the year, respectively, shined brightly this season, leading the Boxers to another solid season and a conference tournament appearance.

The Boxers went 25-16-1 under second-year head coach Liz Yandall, taking fourth in both the NWC regular seasons and tournament.

Roberts’ numerous highlights are highlighted elsewhere in this section. As for Reichard, she was Pacific’s undisputed go-to arm in the circle, going 17-8 and coming just one victory short of the program single-season record. She did set records for innings pitched (184.1) and complete games (21). She also recorded a 2.35 ERA and had 108 strikeouts.

Perhaps most notable, she is the first Pacific softball player to earn NWC pitcher of the year honors. She was also an NFCA All-West Region third team pick.

Freshman outfielder Kaitlynn Donaca joined Roberts and Reichard on the NWC first team. Senior shortstop Ashley Mitchell was both an NWC (second team) and NFCA All-West Region (third team) selection, while fellow senior infielder Quirena Natividad joined her on the NWC second team.

In baseball, Walker Olis had a season for the ages. The now-graduated outfielder was voted the NWC player of the year as well as a D3baseball.com All-American. He got it done in the classroom too, graduating with a 3.64 GPA and being named a CoSIDA Academic All-American first team pick.

The accolades have continued to roll in for the Boxers star. Late last week, the Miami Marlins plucked up Olis in the 29th round of the MLB draft, so he will take a shot at becoming a professional baseball player. Olis becomes the first Boxer to be drafted since the Colorado Rockies selected Jason Atwood in 1991.

Among the records Olis set this year: single-season marks for hits (66), runs scored (57), walks (44) and stolen bases (28). He hit .415 with 12 doubles and 11 home runs. He led the NCAA Division III ranks in runs scored and walks and ranked in the top 10 in stolen bases, on-base percentage and home runs.

With Olis leading the way, Pacific was a much improved 25-18 this season under second-year head coach Brian Billings. The Boxers tied for third in the NWC before taking third place at the conference tourney. Those 25 wins were the most in a season since 2002.

Football

This is starting to become a habit. The Pacific football squad posted its third consecutive winning season in 2015, going 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the Northwest Conference, good for fourth place. Three of the team’s losses went to opponents who made the NCAA Division III national playoffs.

Five players earned NWC first team honors: senior running back Bronson Barretto, senior receiver Nathan Suyematsu, senior offensive lineman Kevin Peterson, junior defensive lineman Jeff Bajema and senior linebacker Trey Kodama.

Bajema also picked up a D3Football.com All-West Region third team nod.

Women’s lacrosse

The lacrosse team walked the walk again in 2016, backing up last year’s NWC title with a league co-championship this season. The Boxers finished 10-4 overall and 7-1 in the conference, tying with George Fox for first place.

Meg Chapman and Mahea Wong were both IWLCA All-West Region second team and All-NWC first team selections. Teammates April Lanz, Jordyn Godfrey and Paisley Hiefield joined Chapman and Wong on the conference first team.

Tennis

Pacific men’s tennis put together another strong year, going 18-4 overall and 11-1 in the NWC, good for second place. The Boxers also took second at the conference tourney. Those 18 team wins are a single-season program record. Pacific ended the regular season ranked 29th in the country.

Senior Brennan Faith and junior Clark Wininger were named to the all-NWC first team, while junior Reuben Mulhern was a second team pick.