Larsen digs the long ball

The magic number was 26.

 Senior shortstop Devan Larsen had been sitting on 25 career bombs since her last homer on Feb. 20 against Princeton in Arlington, Texas. Thirteen games later on March 10, it finally happened.

 In the top of the fourth inning, Larsen belted a two-out, two-run blast to take a one-run lead against Creighton.

 “I wanted to cry,” Larsen said. “There was just a lot of pressure, so it was like ‘finally it’s over.’”

 Second-year Head Coach Krista Wood said it was something that had been on Larsen’s and the entire team’s mind for a while.

 “It’s a relief to get it out of the way and move on,” Wood said. “We’re still trying to focus on the team. We try not to put so much emphasis on it.”

 Larsen went deep against Creighton last season as well. She then went on to break the Jackrabbit single-season mark with 16 homers.

This year Larsen, a 5-foot-8 senior from Monroe, Washington, has only left the park three times, but says it’s not her main focus.

 “As far as hitting, last year I definitely changed my mentality at the plate just to see the ball and hit line drives,” Larsen says. “Coach Newman helped me a lot with that. This year it’s the same thing, if I hit a home run it’s kind of a mistake. I just hit it hard enough to go over [the fence].”

 While hitting the long ball might not be the goal, strength and conditioning is. Larsen is one of three teammates this year to be an Iron Jack. Senior Lauren Chirnside and junior Christian McKone are the other two.

To qualify as an Iron Jack an athlete must meet certain lifting requirements based on body weight on the power clean, squat, bench press and in the vertical jump.

 With her passion for conditioning, it’s no surprise Larsen plans on becoming a personal trainer after college.

 Larsen, majoring in business economics with an accounting minor, will graduate in May.

 Though it appears Larsen won’t break her single season mark set a year ago, she hopes to extend her career home run record to another milestone.

 “It’d be cool to hit 30,” she said.

The softball team currently sits with a 10-17 record. The Jacks begin Summit League play this Friday as they open up a three-game series with the University of Western Illinois with two games scheduled for Friday and the series finale to be played on Saturday.