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OREGON SPORTS HISTORY/1991: Vikings overcome lack of facilities to gain No. 1 ranking and set school record for wins

May 17-21, 1991

Portland State's softball team is ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II going into the World Series at Midland, Michigan.

The Vikings boast two All-Americans (Kristin Jacobs and Cynthia Macom) and an Academic All-American (Cathy Eason) and are coached by Teri Mariani.

They've just come off a dramatic regional tournament at Erv Lind Stadium, where they bounced back from a second-game defeat to win 8-0, 7-1, 7-0, and join Southeast Missouri State, Augustana (S.D.) and Bloomsburg (Pa.) in the four-team, double-elimination World Series.

PSU opens with a 3-2 win over Southeast Missouri State.

But the dream of a national title comes crashing down in cruel fashion the following day. The Vikings lead Augustana by one run in the final inning when a passed ball with two out allows the tying run to score. Augustana goes on to win — in 16 innings, 3-2.

PSU is still alive in the tournament, but has no time to recover, having to play Bloomsburg immediately after the loss to Augustana, and Bloomsburg wins, 5-2.

The Viks finish with a school-record 43 wins (and nine losses).

The core of the team was together for four years, and made incredible progress, going from 17-37 as freshmen to 41-14 as juniors. Their combined 84-23 record over the final two years is the best in school history — and was remarkable considering other factors and challenges.

In those years, the Vikings played few home games (only 28 out of 107). And, they were able to practice on a softball field only five times the entire 1991 season. They conducted most of their practices on a church blacktop (St. Philip Neri in Southeast Portland), because the school had no official home field and city officials wouldn't let them practice at Erv Lind in Northeast Portland.

The Vikings, though, were ranked No. 1 in the nation nearly all season.

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