May 15th, 2007 @ 9:50 pm | Author: Doug Peters
After recording a record 36 victories in 2006 along with a national tournament appearance, some might have thought that a rebuilding year would have been in store for the Valley City State University Viking Softball team. The Vikings graduated five starters, six seniors total including All American Honorable Mention pitcher Karalea Morris. But the Vikings had other thoughts in mind.
In the spring of 2007, the Vikings would collect 25 wins, the second most in the programs history, to thirteen losses, set a new record for wins to open a season at ten and broke four team records, including one that stood for nineteen years.
It was weather that dominated the headlines in the spring however, as the snow hampered the schedule at the beginning of the season and the rain closed out the 2007 campaign. The Vikings traveled to Cocoa Beach, Florida for spring break for the first time in their history and had an impressive showing, returning home with a twelve game win streak and a 10-0 record. The hot start was cooled off when the conference opener came around as Dakota State snapped the win streak, but the Vikings continued on to finish 12-12 in the Dakota Athletic Conference, the most conference wins since 2001. VCSU was the only softball team in the DAC to complete the full 24 game conference schedule.
Snow pushed back games and moved the team back indoors for practice for a two week span before the weather turned and the rescheduled games began. The last week of the regular season saw the Vikings play five double headers in a seven day span before entering the week of the conference tournament. The tournament to be held in Madison, SD was rained out however and with the rains, the season was washed away as well as the Vikings dropped out of the top eight in the regional rankings and did not qualify for the Region III tournament.
Despite the disappointing ending, the Vikings broke four team records. The team batting average of .297 set in 1988 was shattered by the Vikings team average of .326. Three records set in 2006 were also broken including new team highs in doubles (69), home runs (28) and runs scored (249). Several individuals were on pace to break individual records before the season abruptly ended.
The Vikings placed two players on the DAC All Conference team with sophomore Jessica Ruzicki and senior Kelli Baumgartner. Ruzicki was also selected to the All Region III team.
The Vikings graduated five seniors in 2007; Jackie O'Neill, Maplewood, MN, Alana Purvis, Calgary, AB, Kelli Unrein, Baker, MT, Kelli Baumgartner, Battle Lake, MN and Carling Beninger, Richmond, BC. Student coach Katie Cavallaro from Clearwater, FL also graduated.