Softball’s strong season overshadows defeat

Tyler Morrill

For the Review

There is a lot of disappointment on campus over how the softball team was unable to repeat its national title. But it is worth noting that winning the title a second time is much more of a challenge than winning that first one.

On the second journey through, you are getting the teams’ best shots. Many teams believe if you beat the defending national champions, your season is made. It isn’t true, but most teams still seem to think so.

The Wildcat softball team probably wasn’t the favorite to win the championship this year, like the 2005 football team was, but it shows how difficult a repeat title can be. Having those expectations put on you from day one is daunting.

You can’t blame the team for losing in the regional tournament. The West Regionals was one of the hardest for the ’Cats, who only lost four games in the regular season.

Four of the nation’s top 10 teams in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 Poll were in the West Regional bracket.

This bracket features some of the best competition a Division III team can face. It’s unfortunate, though, only one team from this bracket can advance to play in the national tournament.

It is a disappointing end for one of Linfield softball’s best senior classes to come through the program. These seniors had high expectations after winning last year’s national championship and having so many returning players.

Not only did five seniors receive All-Northwest Conference recognition, they also earned spots on the All-West Regional team.

First baseman Amanda Attleberger, second baseman Jenny Marshall, shortstop Meredith Brunette, third baseman Erica Hancock and outfielder Stephanie Rice all went out earning exceptional honors.

This season’s team boasted one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. It had the third best scoring average with an 8.13 mark through 40 games and the fifth best mark in team batting average with its .367.

As the postseason winds to a close, only the best teams are left standing, and the reason is usually because of stellar pitching.

The ’Cats definitely ran into some of the best pitching in the country, as their offense was held to just a single hit in the first loss to Louisiana College.

Because of the ’Cats’ strong offense, their exceptional defensive skills were sometimes overshadowed.

 The ’Cats gave up 1.97 runs per game and had the nation’s second best fielding percentage, with a 98 percent efficiency and the fewest errors.

Although not all the accolades and accomplishments added up to the ultimate goal of this team, which was a repeat national title, there is no a reason to think these Wildcats underachieved. It’s never an easy path to the championship, no matter how good you may be.

 

 

 

 

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