May 20, 2022 — On May 16, Marshfield came to town for a Sky-Em League softball doubleheader. These were the last two games of a long and arduous season for the Siuslaw softball team.
The Pirates won both games, 20-0 and 20-10, but the Vikings showed the resiliency they have had all season by never giving up until the final out.
The 10 runs scored against Marshfield was the second most by the Vikings this season, only topped when they scored 11 runs in a 23-11 loss at Junction City on May 3.
Though Siuslaw didn’t win any of their 20 games this year. the team, unquestionably, showed improvement all season.
“I think everyone had a good season,” said senior captain Bailey Overton. “I saw them improve by leaps and bounds, even the girls who have never held a bat before.”
Maybe more important than the results of the two games on May 16 was the celebration before the doubleheader. The Siuslaw community said goodbye to the three seniors on the Viking softball team: Overton, Maggie Manning and Brooke Olson.
Overton was a senior shortstop for the Vikings. She will finish her Siuslaw career as one of the greatest high school softball players Florence has ever seen. She was first team all-state last year, the first time a Siuslaw softball player has received such accolades.
“Since I have been involved with the softball program at Siuslaw, which goes back to 1996, I do not believe Siuslaw has ever had a first team all-state softball athlete,” said former SHS Softball Coach Sean O’Mara. “We have had athletes in some years get on second team, third team or be honorable mention, but we do not have any record of a first team all-state athlete in our record books from any prior season. It is an incredible recognition of the season Bailey Overton had this past year.”
During a game against Junction City last year Overton, homered in all four of her at bats, tying an Oregon high school record for home runs in one game.
Not only has Overton produced statistically for the Viking softball team, but she is also greatly admired by her teammates.
“Baily O. taught me to be a better hitter and gave me confidence every time I stepped into the box,” said Olson.
Moments like Olson describes were also some of Overton’s favorite memories from her softball career. She has really enjoyed watching her teammates improve around her.
“Helping all the girls develop their skills has been what I will remember the most from my time playing for the Vikings,” said Overton. “Being team captain and helping to spread my knowledge of the game was an amazing experience. Watching my team’s progression every year was just wonderful.”
Overton plans to continue playing softball and will play for Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay next year.
Maggie Manning was also honored before the game. The senior was the Vikings’ #1 pitcher this year. She was a great teammate and never stopped battling through some very tough situations on the mound.
“I really admire Maggie for her positive attitude and her progress with pitching,” said Overton. “I was honored to be her teammate.”
Manning’s favorite memory as a softball player was when she was on base when Overton worked some of her magic.
“My favorite memory from softball was when my teammate Bailey hit a grand slam while I was on base,” said Manning. “She is known for hitting lots of home runs, so it was awesome to be on base when it happened.”
Manning will attend University of Oregon next year and study business with a focus on sports management.
The third senior honored was Brooke Olson.
Olson made an impressive catch in left-centerfield in the first game of the year and her teammates were impressed by how she kept improving throughout the season.
“I think Brooke had a really good season,” said Manning. “She did great in the outfield, especially that outstanding catch. She was always getting on base and had some great hits as well. I admire Brooke a lot and she was always so supportive.”
Olson will be found on the north side of Siltcoos Lake this summer helping at her family’s business, Darlings Marina and Resort.
After high school, Olson will work on getting certified as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
“After my CNA, I will work and take the classes I need to into the specific field [of nursing] I want,” said Olson. “I’m also going to visit my sister in Las Vegas in July. I think I’ve had a great final chapter of high school and I couldn’t have done that without the sports I participated in and my family.”
Next year, Siuslaw will be led by a new softball coach as Jason Lipe’s tenure as head coach will only last one year. Those interested in applying for the head softball position can contact Jenny Dietz, Siuslaw School District HR specialist, at 541-997-2651 or [email protected]. For more information on the position, go to siuslaw.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx.