Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Roberts is the best in the NCAA


Her 1.21 stolen bases per game leads the nation for all levels of NCAA softball

by: COURTESY PACIFIC UNIVERSITY - NCAA stolen base leader Rachel RobertsFOREST GROVE — It’s official. Oregon City High School 2012 graduate Rachel Roberts was the top base stealer in the nation in NCAA softball for the 2014 collegiate season.

After setting the Pacific University single season stolen base record during an incredible 2014 season, Roberts has been certified as the top base stealer in NCAA softball for all levels, Division I, Division II and Division III.

“It’s pretty exciting!” said Roberts. “It was a surprise. I knew I’d stolen a few bases, but I never imagined it would be that many. I’m honored and humbled by the experience....

“Going into this year I didn’t really have any specific goals. I just wanted to do my best and do whatever I could to help my team. Do everything the coach asked, and just keep improving.”

The 2014 Northwest Conference Player of the Year and Pacific’s first Division III softball All-American, Roberts finished her sophomore season as the NCAA Division III statistical champion for stolen bases per game. She’ll receive a plaque from the NCAA later this year marking the accomplishment.

Roberts set the Pacific single season mark with 46 stolen bases. Her 1.21 stolen bases per game finished well ahead of the second place 1.13 stolen bases per game by Kayla Malkos of Virginia Wesleyan. Malkos led Division III in total stolen bases with 52, but played in eight more games than Roberts.

Additionally, Roberts stole more bases per game than anyone in the NCAA. Division I leader Olivia Watkins of Western Kentucky stole 0.95 bases per game, while Division II leader Kassidy Tally of Delta State stole 1.19 bases per game. Only Iva Estrada of Talladega (Ala.) stole more bases per game in the college game. Estrada, the NAIA leader, stole 1.27 bases per game, stealing 56 in 44 games.

Roberts helped lead Pacific to a second place finish in the Northwest Conference and a berth in the NWC Tournament championship game.

She was named the NWC Player of the Year, selected to the NFCA All-West Region Team and to the NFCA Division III Second All-American Team, after leading the league with a .468 batting average and a Pacific single season record 58 hits. Roberts finished second in the NWC with a .521 on-base percentage. She also ranked in the NCAA Division III statistical top-100 in both batting average and sacrifice flies.

Roberts, who plays second base, is Pacific’s first softball All-American since the university transitioned to NCAA Division III membership for the 1998-99 season, and the first since Vallie Wells was named to the NFCA NAIA All-American Team in 1998.

Roberts had at least one hit in all but two games this season and she had 17 multi-hit games. Her season-best performance came against Lewis & Clark on March 31, when she went 4-for-4, with a RBI, a run and four stolen bases. It was one of four games in which Roberts had four stolen bases.

Roberts says that Pacific coach Tim Hill played a huge role in her improvement in base stealing and in hitting this season.

“Tim is such a great coach,” she said. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence my freshman year, but he’s done a lot to help my confidence — working with me on technique, strategy and drills. Any time I’d want to practice hitting, he’d open up the gym for me. And he’d just continually build me up. Tell me I could do this. He’s done a lot for my confidence.”

Roberts said of the keys to stealing bases successfully: “Having a coach that wants to send you and has confidence in you, getting a good jump, and going as fast as you can. I don’t like to get put out.”

As for her future goals in softball, Roberts said, “My goal’s to just keep improving, not just in base stealing and hitting, but in all parts of my game.”

A public health major at Pacific, Roberts plans a career as a pharmacist.