Wildcats to rally at regionals

Baseball had an exciting weekend against George Fox University on April 22 and 23. Linfield lost the first game of the weekend, 7-8, which only pushed the ’Cats harder for the remaining two games, which they won.

The team is at the top of the Northwest Conference and will advance to regionals.

Sophomore center fielder Tim Wilson said that the team has overcome a lot to get to this point.

“It feels great to be able to get a chance to play in regionals. It is a great accomplishment especially with the injuries that we have endured all season,” he said. “Guys have really come through when the team has needed them most.”

During the second game, the Wildcats made a comeback. Winning the game 13-4, Linfield excelled at the plate and on the mound. Starting the pitching for Linfield was freshman Zach Brandon, who pitched for five innings and had six hits off him.

In the first inning alone, the ’Cat bats went wild with eight runs scored. Senior third baseman Dustin Smith was the first to score. Following Smith was Wilson, senior catcher Cole Bixenman, junior shortstop Kevin Allen, sophomore designated hitter Clayton Truex, freshman left fielder Nate McClellan and seniors second baseman Eric Evenson and first baseman Kevin Coleman.

Evenson, Bixenman, Smith and senior right fielder Gunnar Cederberg brought in four runs during the third inning. Allen scored Linfield’s final run of the game during the sixth inning.

The momentum from their first game against the Bruins continued to the third game.

The Wildcats won the third game 3-0 against the Bruins on April 23. Evenson scored the first run in the first inning after hitting a double to left field. Wilson scored the second run after Truex hit a single to left field during the sixth inning. Smith scored the final run of the game in the eighth inning after a double by Allan.

Sophomore Zach Manley and senior Evan Hilberg pitched for the Wildcats, and together had only six hits off them.

George Fox was a tough competitor throughout the games.

“I believe that Chapman [University] and George Fox were the two toughest teams we have faced. Chapman had the most complete pitching staff that we have seen all year, having three good starting pitchers,” Wilson said. “[George] Fox is always a hard team to beat because it is a rival [school]. They came into the series needing wins, and we were able to walk away with two wins that series, which was a great success for our team.”

Winning last weekend helped Linfield remain in first place in the Northwest Conference. The Wildcats will head to regionals May 18.

“It’s an exciting feeling to know we’ve already clinched the NWC championship and a spot at regionals. These have been two of our main goals all season long, and it’s a great feeling to know that all of our hard work has paid off thus far,” Brandon said.

Allan agreed with Brandon.

“It feels good. It was our first goal that we needed to accomplish in order to get further into the playoffs and ultimately compete at the national level,” he said.

There’s a possibility that the Wildcats will head to the West Regionals in Abilene, Texas, on May 18-22. Until then, the Wildcats will play against Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., on April 30 and May 1.

Kaylyn Peterson/For the Review
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

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