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When Rebecca Patterson was locked in, look out!

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Rebecca Patterson at Canyons Complex in 2013.
Though it would be easy to feature so many athletic alumni from Lake Land College, this feature came about because inquiring minds wanted to know just who was the young lady in the Laker Alumni Collection photo with the bigtime focus at the hot corner.

Rebecca Patterson is a smidgen less known among Laker Athletics alumni, but that's probably because she played only one season for the Lady Lakers softball team (2013) before heading off to Western Illinois University.

The LAC image was taken at Canyons Complex at the 2013 NJCAA Division I Softball National Finals in St. George, Utah, on May 16, 2013, and was one image of a 5-image series, but we'll get back to that, and touch upon Patterson's plate-side contributions to one of the greatest comebacks in Laker Softball history.

Patterson (l.) joins meeting at the circle at Canyons Complex.
In her sole season as a Lady Laker, Patterson played an above average hot corner, and was very above average at the plate, leading the 2013 Lady Lakers in RBI with 83, a mark that would find her finishing 6th in the nation in the NJCAA Division I rankings.

With that pile of RBI, you'd be correct in thinking Patterson hit for power, but she also hit for high average, her 2013 batting average coming in at .409. And if such a high batting average wasn't enough to prove her abilities at the plate, her OBP came in at .484, good for 69th in those national rankings. As for that power, Patterson bashed a baker's dozen in doubles, clouted eight home runs, and laced a triple for good measure.

Keep in mind Patterson did all this as a freshman.

After tallying 83 RBI, you can bet there were many multiple RBI games. Patterson notched fourteen 2-RBI games, five 3-RBI games, four 4-RBI games, and one 8-RBI game!

At times it almost appeared as if Patterson was streaky at the plate, but that was because at other times her swing could go red hot, and she would simply rake for games on end. Suffice it to say that when Rebecca Patterson was locked in, look out!

There were only 18 games where Patterson didn't collect an RBI, which meant she did secure at least one RBI or better in 40 games of the 58 in which she played. The longest Patterson ever went without an RBI was two games in a row, and there were only three occasions of such an occurrence.

And if that wasn't locked in enough, Patterson had a half-dozen game RBI streak that tallied a dozen RBI, and an eight game RBI streak where she racked up 21 RBI.

During the season-high RBI streak of eight games, Patterson went 13-for-23, a .565 clip for batting average, and went crooked on the homers with five.

In the midst of that 21-RBI streak came a gigantic game, on April 9, 2013, when Patterson amassed an 8-RBI game in the first game of double header at Laker Softball Field. (Patterson would collect a couple more RBI in the nitecap for a 10-RBI day!)

And if an 8-RBI didn't make Patterson the heroine of the game, going yard three times did, her last a three-run, walk-off homer to left field.

There was quite a wind blowing out that afternoon, a Wrigley kind of day, but if you'd witnessed those four-baggers, a three-run blast followed by a two-run blast followed by that walk-off three-run blast, you'd know they were no-doubters.

Yeah, locked in.

The odd thing about the three round trippers in a game was that it nearly didn't happen. Patterson failed to reach base in her first at-bat, and while the three yardballs in successive at-bats weren't lucky, getting to those big swings may have been, just a little. Just before her second home run, the first baseman had dropped a playable foul pop up, giving her a second life with which she cracked her second homer. And during the plate appearance of her third home run, Patterson attempted to bunt in the winning run from third base, her bunt rolling foul on the first base side. On the very next pitch, Patterson smoked the three-run, walk-off homer over the left field fence.

Here's a link to a long ago live stream of that game. The first of the three home runs didn't stream as connectivity went down during the early innings, but the last two are marked on the timeline.

Getting back to that historic 2013 National Finals game, Patterson was one of many Lady Laker heroines that night, an elimination game for Lake Land that went just short of two and a half hours and ended near midnight.

There's little question the 15-13 win at Canyons Complex on May 17, 2013, was the biggest comeback win in Laker Softball history, the Lady Lakers overcoming a five-run deficit with seven runs scored in the final, seventh inning, followed by three outs of intense defense.

The LAC image mentioned previously as part of a series is depicted below, occurring during an unknown inning of the comeback victory, possibly, like so many Lake Land plays, changing the outcome of the game, preventing a single and possibly a double into the left field corner.
Rebecca Patterson, playing third base at Canyons Complex at the 2013 NJCAA Softball Division I National Finals. (Click image for larger/sharper view.)


Patterson emotional interview after historic comeback win.
One of seven Lady Lakers with a multi-hit game, Patterson went 3-for-4 in the late night comeback at Canyons Complex with a single and a pair of doubles, notching a team-leading four RBI. Patterson was one of two Lady Lakers with three hits that night. (Rachel Keller went 3-for-5, all singles with her last scoring Cherise Boyd with what would turn out to be the game-winning run.)

The following set of images portray Patterson's last hit of her collegiate softball career at Lake Land, a solo home run on May 17, 2013 at Canyons Complex. Fitting for her last hit to result in her 83rd and last RBI.





Patterson would go hitless the following day as the Lady Lakers bowed out of the National Finals, claiming a fifth place finish, not topped until the 2017 Lady Lakers came in fourth.

While Patterson chose not to play softball after her season at Lake Land, her successful ways continued, gaining employment at Vibrant Credit Union where she has rapidly moved up the ranks and is now a loan officer.

Patterson has two Huskies she loves to death, but there may be someone she loves more.

Patterson is engaged to a lucky fellow named Shae Stoedter with a November 18 date racing toward them. Yes, there is life after softball, and somehow, all the excitement of that three-homer game and all those RBI won't come close to adding up to the excitement of Rebecca's big day in mid-November.

 
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