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Strahm solid in college campaigns

June 14, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

After a standout softball career at Holtville High School, Aimee Strahm had no aspirations of playing in college.

She was headed to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego to focus strictly on her education. But when she got there she was contacted by PLNU head softball coach Dave Williams about playing for the NAIA squad.

"I was initially surprised that he tried to get me out there," said the 19-year-old Strahm, who just completed her sophomore year at Point Loma Nazarene. "I think he only saw me play once when I was in high school and that was in a CIF (playoff) game. And I really didn't do that much in that game."

Williams continued to pursue Strahm and after a few workouts with the Crusaders she landed a spot on the roster as a walk-on.

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She initially was one of three players playing second base. Strahm was behind the returning starter at second and was battling with another freshman for playing time. Luckily for Strahm, the other players were moved to other positions and the starting second base job went to her.

The move didn't just work out well for Strahm, it ended up being one of the best things to happen to the team. In her first year with the Crusaders, who play in the Golden State Athletic Conference, she led the team with a .374 batting average, started all 53 games, was an all-conference and all-region first-team selection and was a second-team All-American.

In the GSAC, she finished third in batting average, ninth in stolen bases with 10 and 10th in runs with 28. She was named most improved on her team and was Point Loma's offensive MVP, helping the team to second place in the conference.

In her sophomore year Strahm's numbers weren't as impressive but she thinks she had a better all-around season.

"My first year I think I was more of a bunt and slap hitter. That's really how I got most of my base hits," said the 5-foot-6 Strahm, who finished with a .304 average, 22 runs, 12 RBIs and eight steals as a sophomore. "But this year I worked more on swinging away. I didn't really slap the ball as much. My average was a lot lower, but I felt I was a lot better as an overall hitter."

Hitting in the sixth spot most of the season, Strahm helped her team to a 42-11 overall record and a 17-7 mark in the GSAC. The Crusaders finished third in the conference, but took first at regionals and fifth at the national tournament in Decatur, Ala., which marked the first time the softball team made the national event.

With their first taste of the tournament, Strahm said she and her teammates are looking to return next season.

"We had a really young team this year and mostly everyone's coming back, so our expectations are even higher," said Strahm. "We didn't know what to expect from nationals, so we didn't know what we were getting into or what we were going to face. But now that we know, I think we have a pretty good chance at making it back next year.

"As for me, I'm going to continue to work on my hitting during the summer and just continue to improve my overall game," Strahm said. "Of course my expectations of myself are going to be higher. As long as I help the team succeed, that's all that matters."

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