La Grande High School graduate Shelby Hasse scores a run in a March 3 game against Whitworth College. Hasse hit .222 in 16 games this year for the Lutes.
SALEM, Va. — Shelby Hasse, a 2010 graduate of La Grande High School, got to be a part of something that not a lot of athletes get to experience.
Hasse is a member of the Pacific Lutheran University softball team that just won the NCAA Division III national championship in Salem, Va.
The Lutes defeated rival Linfield College (McMinnville) 3-0 in the title game, wrapping up an 8-0
“It was a pretty cool experience. A lot of fun,” Hasse said.
Hasse is a sophomore outfielder and hit .222 in 16 games this season for the high-powered Lutes.
PLU finished the season with a 45-11 record, but the Lutes weren’t the early favorites to make a deep postseason run. Despite that, Hasse and her teammates knew what they were capable of.
“We knew we could play with the best,” Hasse said.
“We knew, but no one else did. At the start of the year we felt like a lot of people were under rating us.”
The Lutes lost four of their first six games but righted the ship to rip off 43 of their next 50 games en rout to the title.
But even during their postseason run, the Lutes felt like they weren’t getting enough respect.
“All along Coach would tell us ’the only people who know we can do this is in this room,’” Hasse said.
They were right.
Lutes take title, 3-0
In the championship game, PLU’s Stacy Hagensen held a hard-hitting Linfield team to just three hits, while the Lutes got a run in the first inning, fourth inning and another in the fifth for the win.
Hasse admitted that this season was a struggle for her personally. After playing a prominent role in high school, the adjustment to role player hasn’t been easy.
“It was frustrating at times,” Hasse said.
“I was humbled by it. I gave a speech in high school about how the toughest role on a team is the supporting role, and I had to live it. It’s true.”
Hasse chose Pacific Lutheran for softball as well as its nursing program.
And with her sophomore year wrapping up and the course-load expanding, Hasse isn’t sure how much more softball is in her future.
“I’m not a 100 percent sure if I’m going to play next year. It’s one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.
“But I have to start thinking about my career,” Hasse said.
If indeed this is here final year playing softball, Hasse leaves the game as a member of a championship-winning team, something that will surely be remembered for the rest of her life.