Daily Archives: May 21, 2010

Softball to play in Division III World Series competition

The Wildcats softball team clicked with the sticks during Midwest Regionals in Indianola, Iowa.

In four games, Linfield smashed 14 home runs, outscored opponents 35-10 and punched a ticket to Eau Claire, Wisc., and the Division III World Series on May 21-25.

The World Series trip is the first since the program’s lone national championship in 2007.

“We just played really relaxed and within ourselves,” sophomore center fielder Jaydee Baxter said. “We were just trying to play Catball; we were trying to do our thing and be calm and confident.”

Catball is the “brand” of softball created by the Wildcats that includes emphasis on teamwork, dedication and fun to accomplish goals, such as reaching the national championships.

After a 13-5 win over University of Chicago, Linfield avenged two midseason losses to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by winning 10-3.

Freshman third baseman Karleigh Prestianni had her second two-home run game in as many days while totaling three hits and runs batted in.

Also helping the ’Cats’ offense was sophomore first baseman Staci Doucette, who added two two-run homers.

Junior pitcher Claire Velaski threw her second-straight complete game, while allowing 10 hits and three runs. The win advanced her season record to 16-2.

Juniors shortstop Emily Keagbine and second baseman Alex Hartmann and sophomore catcher Emilee Lepp all had multiple hit games.

The win against CMS pitted the Wildcats against 39-6 St. Thomas University.

Doucette’s solo home run in the first was canceled out by a Tommie run in the fourth. But the run woke up the sleeping ’Cats.

Doucette roped a three-run jack in the fifth. Baxter led off the sixth with a solo shot. Four singles and an error led to four runs in the seventh, giving the Wildcats a 9-1 win.

Sophomore pitcher Lauren Harvey took the ball for Linfield, allowing just three hits in a complete game for her 17th win.

“Both pitchers did a good job for us,” head coach Jackson Vaughan said. “[Harvey and Velask] kept getting big outs when we needed them.”

Because of the double elimination format, Linfield needed to beat St. Thomas again after the Tommies defeated Illinois Wesleyan University to advance to the regional final.

The team found itself trailing 0-1 after two innings, the first time the ’Cats faced a deficit in the regional.

After two innings, five hits and a run, Vaughan pulled Harvey in favor of Velaski.

The ’Cats showed a flair for the dramatics, not scoring until a Baxter lead-off homer in the fifth. Prestianni sealed it with a two-run bomb in the sixth as Velaski shut the door on the Tommies, not allowing another run in the last five innings.

Prestianni, Doucette, Lepp, Baxter and Keagbine were named to the all-tournament team.

“This year we’ve been pretty underrated,” Baxter said. “It worked to our advantage because people weren’t expecting a lot from us. We played loose and had a lot of fun, and that’s really what the key was to winning and playing well.”

Vaughan agreed, noting last year’s freshmen-laden team had little experience on a big stage. But this year’s team, he said, played relaxed and comfortably.

“We certainly hit as good as we’ve hit all season at the regional last weekend,” Vaughan said. “We worked hard on some things individually with each kid; I think it paid off.”

Linfield’s 14 regional home runs gave the ’Cats 73 on the year, a new D-III record previously held by the 2006 St. Thomas team.

The 39-5 Wildcats will face 41-5 Luther College in their opening game of the double-elimination tournament May 21. Linfield enters with a D-III best 25-game winning streak.

“We certainly have a tough draw,” Vaughan said. “I think Luther, along with us, is probably [in the] top half of the teams that are there. We’ll have our hands full for sure in the first game.”

The ’Cats and Luther are joined in Wisconsin by Ithaca College, DePauw University, Christopher Newsport College, Eastern Connecticut State University, East Texas Baptist University and Moravian College. the Wildcats against 39-6 St. Thomas University.

Doucette’s solo home run in the first was canceled out by a Tommie run in the fourth. But the run woke up the sleeping ’Cats.

Doucette roped a three-run jack in the fifth. Baxter led off the sixth with a solo shot. Four singles and an error led to four runs in the seventh, giving the Wildcats a 9-1 win.

Sophomore pitcher Lauren Harvey took the ball for Linfield, allowing just three hits in a complete game for her 17th win.

“Both pitchers did a good job for us,” head coach Jackson Vaughan said. “[Harvey and Velaski] kept getting big outs when we needed them.”

Because of the double elimination format, Linfield needed to beat St. Thomas again after the Tommies defeated Illinois Wesleyan University to advance to the regional final.

The team found itself trailing 0-1 after two innings, the first time the ’Cats faced a deficit in the regional.

After two innings, five hits and a run, Vaughan pulled Harvey in favor of Velaski.

The ’Cats demonstrated a flair for the dramatics, not scoring until a Baxter lead-off homer in the fifth. Prestianni sealed it with a two-run bomb in the sixth as Velaski shut the door on the Tommies, not allowing another run in the last five innings.

Prestianni, Doucette, Lepp, Baxter and Keagbine were named to the all-tournament team.

“This year we’ve been pretty underrated,” Baxter said. “It worked to our advantage because people weren’t expecting a lot from us. We played loose and had a lot of fun, and that’s really what the key was to winning and playing well.”

Vaughan agreed, noting last year’s freshmen-laden team had little experience on a big stage. But this year’s team, he said, played relaxed and comfortably.

“We certainly hit as good as we’ve hit all season at the regional last weekend,” Vaughan said. “We worked hard on some things individually with each kid; I think it paid off.”

Linfield’s 14 regional home runs gave the ’Cats 73 on the year, a new D-III record held previously by the 2006 St. Thomas team.

The 39-5 Wildcats will face 41-5 Luther College in their opening game of the double-elimination tournament May 21. Linfield enters with a D-III best 25-game winning streak.

“We certainly have a tough draw,” Vaughan said. “I think Luther, along with us, is probably [in the] top half of the teams that are there. We’ll have our hands full for sure in the first game.”

The Wildcats and Luther are joined in Wisconsin by Ithaca College, DePauw University, Christopher Newsport College, Eastern Connecticut State University, East Texas Baptist University and Moravian College.

Kurtis Williams

Freelancer

Kurtis Williams can be reached at

linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

’Cats snatch a win during regional first round

After posting a six-run seventh inning to defeat Mississippi College on May 19, the Linfield baseball team fell victim to a 10-run onslaught by Pomona-Pitzer on May 20 in the NCAA Division III Baseball McMinnville Regional.

The loss sets Linfield up for an elimination game against Chapman University on May 21.

Before the game, Larson said the whole team had a strong sense of focus, but everyone stayed relaxed and was ready to play. They came into the game knowing what needed to be done to win, he said, and the team accomplished that.

Larson’s three-hit, one-run outing May 19 earned him his 10th victory of the season, which is the fourth-most wins in the nation.

“Heading into the game, my plan was to get ahead of batters early in the count and make quality pitches,” he said. “Aside from the home run, I was able to locate all of my pitches and change speeds to throw the hitters off balance.”

Larson and Mississippi junior Tyler Seaman each dominated the opposing lineup, with no signs of breaking. That big seventh inning, however, gave Seaman his first loss of the season.

In the top of the second inning, Choctaw junior third baseman Shane Bennett appeared to be fooled on an off-speed pitch, lunging forward to the pitch. Bennett, however, made contact and sent it flying over the left-field wall.

Twice in the first four innings, the Wildcats had a runner on third base, but they were unable to bring them home to even the score.

Linfield took advantage of both pitching and fielding mistakes in the bottom of the seventh to tally six runs and grab a solid hold of the lead.

Seaman allowed the ’Cats to load the bases with nobody out after walking two and ceding a single to senior first baseman Rhett Fenton. Senior catcher Mitch Webb hit a soft grounder to senior shortstop Dakota Bodree. Bodree, however, couldn’t field it cleanly, allowing sophomore left fielder Zach Boskovich to score and tie the game.

With one out in the inning and the bases still loaded, senior center fielder Tyson Smith laced a two-run single to center field, giving Linfield a two-run edge. Two batters later, Bodree committed his second error of the inning, allowing Smith and junior second baseman Eric Evenson to come home. A sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Cole Bixenman capped off the inning, giving Linfield a five-run advantage.

“Late in the game we made an adjustment as a team and quit swinging at the breaking pitch which caused him to get behind in the count and walk a few guys,” Smith said. “That got him in trouble and gave our offense a little life. We had some great AB’s that inning from everyone and some aggressive base running that allowed us to keep the pressure on them all inning long and to capitalize on our few hits and and their errors.”

Since allowing the home run in the second inning, Larson retired 22 straight batters en route to the win.

Linfield’s victory earned them a matchup against Pomona-Pitzer on May 20.

“We just want to go out there with confidence and play our game,” Smith said. “We know that if we play the way we are capable of that we will put ourselves in good position to be successful. We just want to go out there with the confidence knowing what we have the ability to beat anyone.” the bottom of the seventh to tally six runs and grab a solid hold of the lead.

Seaman allowed the ’Cats to load the bases with nobody out after walking two and ceding a single to senior first baseman Rhett Fenton. Senior catcher Mitch Webb hit a soft grounder to senior shortstop Dakota Bodree. Bodree, however, couldn’t field it cleanly, allowing sophomore left fielder Zach Boskovich to score and tie the game.

With one out in the inning and the bases still loaded, senior center fielder Tyson Smith laced a two-run single to center field, giving Linfield a two-run edge. Two batters later, Bodree committed his second error of the inning, allowing Smith and junior second baseman Eric Evenson to come home. A sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Cole Bixenman capped off the inning, giving Linfield a five-run advantage.

“Late in the game, we made an adjustment as a team and quit swinging at the breaking pitch, which caused him to get behind in the count and walk a few guys,” Smith said. “That got him in trouble and gave our offense a little life. We had some great ABs that inning from everyone and some aggressive base running that allowed us to keep the pressure on them all inning long and to capitalize on our few hits and on their errors.”

Since allowing the home run in the second inning, Larson retired 22 straight batters en route to the win.

Linfield’s victory earned them a matchup against Pomona-Pitzer on May 20.

“We just want to go out there with confidence and play our game,” Smith said. “We know that if we play the way we are capable of that we will put ourselves in good position to be successful. We just want to go out there with the confidence knowing what we have the ability to beat anyone.”

With help from senior infielder James Kang and freshman outfielder Eric Munzer, who each posted multi-home run games, the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens powered past Linfield 10-4.

The Sagehens grabbed a 2-0 lead after three innings after Munzer and Kang delivered solo home runs in the second and third frame, respectively.

Linfield responded in the bottom of the third after RBI singles by Bixenman and junior third baseman Dustin Smith, evening the score.

Kang belted his second bomb of the game with a three-run shot over the left-field wall to give Pomona-Pitzer a four-run advantage.

After Linfield tallied two runs in the home-half of the frame, Pomona-Pitzer extended its lead to five runs, including a two-run single by sophomore third baseman James Campbell in the seventh inning. The Sagehens would add one more in the ninth inning to seal the victory.

Tyson Smith led the way for Linfield, recording four hits and two runs scored.

Linfield will face the No. 1 seed Chapman University on May 21 in a win-or-go-home matchup.

Grant Lucas

Freelancer

Grant Lucas can be reached at

linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

Killgore steps down as coach to head HHPA

Crafter of a sports dynasty, Dr. Garry L. Killgore will move on from his position as head coach for both cross-country and track and field at the end of this academic year.

After more than two decades of coaching, Killgore will serve as head coach for one final meet: the Division III National Championships on May 27.

Next fall, Killgore will serve as the head of the Department of Health, Human Performance and Athletics. However, he says he will always be a coach.

“Coaching is teaching,” he said. “If you really want to be a highly effective coach, you must be a good teacher as well.”

Killgore said he believes in the potential of people, whether in athletics or academics.

“Take [senior] Chris McIsaac, for example,” Killgore said. “He wasn’t the greatest high school runner, but he stuck with it all the way through, and after four years of work, he is going on to nationals.”

Killgore is passing the gauntlet to a man who is anything but unfamiliar with the programs and Linfield.

Current assistant coach Travis Olson will take over the head coach position for both the cross-country and track and field teams next year.

Olson, class of ’98, is serving his 12th year as assistant coach and currently oversees the high jump, javelin and decathlon as well as many field events. Olson was a six-time All-American during his undergraduate days at Linfield. He participated in basketball, football and track and earned 10 varsity letters.

Olson will not be alone at the helm, however. Greg Mitchell, who has served as assistant coach for four years, will assist Olson by managing the distance training. Mitchell, class of ’95, brings coaching experience, as well as vast racing insights. Last fall, Mitchell placed second in the Portland Marathon. Last month, he placed 34th in the Boston Marathon.

“To know that I’m creating a relay exchange with my former athletes feels pretty good,” Killgore said.

Three members of next year’s coaching staff are all former Linfield students and athletes. Olsen, Mitchell and throwing coach Joni Claypool each competed during their years as Wildcats.

“There’s something to say when your former athletes keep coming back to help,” Killgore said. “They must have had a pretty good experience.”

Killgore said he is excited to see the new staff take the reins next season. He said the entire staff is incredibly dedicated to both the cross-country and track and field programs and is aiming for excellence, just as he has during his career.

“Adhere to what your personal values and code of ethics are,” Killgore said, as advice to next year’s coaches. “Treat people the way you would want to be treated, and treat them the way you would want your children to be treated.”

The transition from his final season as head coach has not affected his coaching methods or team programming.

“I have given Travis and Greg, as well as all of the assistant coaches more autonomy this season,” Killgore said. “But ultimately, the team is still my responsibility. I wasn’t about to short change them.”

Killgore will carry with him many years of coaching, including the title of Northwest Conference Men’s Coach of the Year in 1991-92, 1994-96 and 2007. He was also named women’s Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1996. Killgore has coached six national champions, 70 All-Americans and 34 Academic All-Americans.

“Never think you have arrived,” Killgore said. “Because you never will.”

Killgore said that he will continue to challenge himself to grow and will always try to improve in whatever he does.

He also said one of his most memorable coaching periods was the track and field team of 1995 and 1996. It was one of the strongest teams in the nation.

“It was loaded,” Killgore said. “We had so many individuals perform at exceedingly high levels.”

Athletes that highlighted those two years of Killgore’s coaching career will take over the programs next season.

His coaching mentality is to never be complacent and never settle for championships or trophies; there is always more out there, he said.

Nic Miles

Sports reporter

Nic Miles can be reached at

linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

Returners, role fillers solidify positive outlook

If you haven’t yet established an interest in Linfield’s football program yet, there’s never been a better time to do so than now.

Last season, the Wildcats captured a record of 12-1, battled their way to the semi-finals of the NCAA Division-III playoffs and finished the year ranked No. 3 in d3football.com’s Top 25 poll. The reigning Northwest Conference champions aim to continue their stellar play through to the next season, and with many returning starters, the pieces are in place for the ’Cats to shoot for the Northwest Conference crown once again.

“Our teams always feel the pressure of living up to the high standard that the previous Wildcat teams before them have set,” head coach Joe Smith said. “That is nothing new. Our guys are committed to sticking to the values and philosophies that have made this program consistently successful and that is what they need to be focused on.”

Perhaps the most familiar face to return for the 2010 season is senior quarterback Aaron Boehme. Last season, he threw for 3,261 yards and 33 touchdowns while also rushing for 466 yards and another 10 scores. Despite the fact that he has finished his degree,

he still retains a year of eligibility and will return to direct the offense one final season.

“I’m personally working on my decision making, my leadership and my footwork in the offseason,” Boehme said. “These are the things that will push me to be the best I can be, if I’m able to focus on them and improve every day.”

In addition, nearly every other offensive player is returning — except senior wide receiver Trevor Patterson. Although Patterson was by far Boehme’s favorite target during the 2009 season, Boehme will have largely the same unit to work with next season.

“I think that our mentality every possession is to score the ball,” Boehme said. “If we have that sort of goal every drive, every game we are going to do very well.”

On the offensive line, however, three key roles will need to be filled in the form of offensive tackles seniors Chris Buck and Aaron Heston and center Kyle Otineru. All three were named to the NWC All-Star team in 2009. Sophomore Jordan Barnes, also named to the NWC’s highest honor, will play a large role in filling that gap.

“There are a lot of guys returning on this team,” sophomore safety Drew Fisher said. “A lot of leadership is still present along with a ton of confidence. I think it’s just the right amount of confidence that gets us believing that we are going to win every game we play in.”

On the defensive side of things, many more impact players have hung up their jerseys for the last time. Senior linebackers Jaymin Jackson and Paul Partlow, who were both named to the NWC All-Star team, are the most noticeable absences.

Fisher will lead the remaining players in an effort to recapture the suffocating power that last season’s squad possessed; in 2009, the Wildcat defense piled up 30 interceptions, 39 sacks and 17 recovered fumbles.

“A few goals of mine are to solidify myself as a leader on this team,” Fisher said. “I’d like to take some young guys under my wing as well as fire up us veterans on defense by knowing the game plan week in and week out and performance on the field. If we can come together as one on defense, play fast and make up for lost leadership in our linebackers then all of our goals will be attained much easier.”

As always, Smith will lead the ’Cats. Smith was named both the NWC 2009 Coach of the Year and American Football Monthly’s 2009 Division III Coach of the Year. In his four seasons at Linfield, Smith has compiled a 30-10 record and is only improving his abilities as time rolls on.

“[Retired] coach Langsdorf used to tell us here that ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten,’” Smith said. “The leaders on this team are committed to doing what we do here at Linfield: committing to team, excellence, attitude and class. If we all do that to the best of our ability, then we will accept however the chips fall.”

With so many returning starters and high optimism, look for the Wildcats to make a lot of noise in both the NWC race and the national picture. Linfield kicks off its season on the road against the University of California Lutheran Crusaders on Sept. 11 and will return for its first home game against Willamette University on Oct. 2.

Chris Forrer

Freelancer
Chris Forrer can be reached at

linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

Sports fans prepare for a statistical revolution

Close your eyes and picture a sports fan. Not just any sports fan, but a die-hard aficionado, one who lives and breathes sports.

Are your eyes closed?

Of course they’re not; you’re still reading this. But that’s okay, because if you are like the rest of the world, I already know the exact image you would have pictured. It was a man, on a couch or at a stadium, beer in hand, clad in either a jersey or no shirt at all, rocking body paint in the colors of his favorite team. If you need help conjuring up this image, try typing, “sports fan” into Google. Can you guess what nine out of the first 10 image results are of? I can.

But times change, and we, as sports fans, are changing with it. A statistical revolution is among us. Just 10 years ago, measures of achievement were self-explanatory: touchdowns, home runs, points scored. Nowadays, it seems like a new formula is being popularized every day. Quick, what are TS%, UZR and PER? If you answered, true shooting percentage, ultimate zone rating and player efficiency rating, then congratulations, you just made Bill James and John Hollinger smile.

Not everyone is on the statistical bandwagon. Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, a nine-time Gold Glove winner who prides himself on his defense, took offense last year when he was told his range graded out to below average on the UZR scale. And while Hollinger may believe he has come up with far more telling measures of performance than the basic stats found on the back of basketball cards, it is still points, rebounds and assists that earn players All-Star votes and fat contracts.

Still, these new stats can be beneficial for players and fans alike — as long as they are taken with a grain of salt. No statistic, however complex, can accurately predict the future.

The 2009 Seattle Mariners were outscored by 52 runs during the season. According to Bill James’ Pythagorean Expectation for Winning Percentage, their record should have been 75-87. The Mariners turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the year, going 85-77. Just this week, the Washington Wizards defied the odds by winning the NBA Draft Lottery, despite having just a 10.3 percent chance of doing so. The smile on the team owner Irene Pollin’s face when she found out her team had lucked out was unforgettable.

In a way, having an understanding of statistical probabilities makes it appear that much more magical when they are defied. Luck will always play a big part in the world of sports, and no new statistic will ever change that. But someday we may want to update our typical sports fan’s image — perhaps replace the jersey with a pocket protector or the beer with a calculator.

I’m just kidding about the calculator part. Stay passionate, sports fans.

Alex Harkaway

Freelancer
Alex Harkaway can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com