Softball stays strong heading into post season
The softball team won its eighth-straight Northwest Conference championship last weekend. The team swept Pacific University in two doubleheaders April 16 and 17. These were the last four games of the regular season schedule.
The ’Cats continued to break records during the two doubleheaders. After earning her 16th win in the first game on April 16, senior pitcher Claire Velaski picked up her record-breaking seventh career save.
Junior catcher Emilee Lepp hit her 25th home run of the season during the first game on April 17, which puts her in possession of the Division III single-season home run record.
Senior pitcher Elise Karscig noted the team’s talent but indicated other factors in its success.
“We are focusing more on the team rather than individual records and goals,” she said. “It’s [also] important to focus on playing one game at a time.”
The team has tied its record for fewest losses in a season at one and set a new record for longest win streak with 27 straight wins.
April 17’s doubleheader was the last regular season appearance at home for the five Linfield seniors including shortstop Emily Keagbine, Karscig, outfielder Kayla Hubrich and second baseman Alex Hartmann and Velaski.
Karscig turned in one of the top performances of the weekend when she pitched a complete-game shutout to cap off the regular season. She allowed three hits in six innings.
The ’Cats maintained their offensive dominance with only a minor slump in the second game April 16, which was a 2-0 victory.
Junior outfielder Jordan Mixsell said lower-scoring games such as these will benefit the ’Cats in the post season.
“I think it is good to get games like that under our belt going into the conference and regional tournaments because it prepares us for more competitive games,” she said.
Five players hit doubles in the first game of April 16 and just as many recorded RBIs as well. Sophomore third baseman Karleigh Prestianni’s three RBIs led the team to its 8-3 win.
The team totaled 17 runs in its 9-4 and 8-0 wins April 17. Lepp and junior first baseman Staci Doucette had two hits each in the first game and combined for five RBIs.
Hartmann, Hubrich and Lepp recorded two hits each during the second game and Prestianni put the finishing touch on the match with a game-ending double that scored Lepp.
Prestianni said the weekend’s wins were also important for the team as it enters the post season.
“It was important for our confidence and for other teams to see that we are still doing well,” she said.
The ’Cats are the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament that will be held here April 22 and 23.
First up, the team will take on fourth seed Willamette University at 11 a.m. April 22.
Rae Smith/Staff reporter
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