The Division three softball champions returned to the newly dedicated Del Smith field to reclaim their title Feb. 22. The Wildcats kicked off their season with a doubleheader game against Concordia University. Ready to start its season, the team is determined and focused.
“There’s definitely going to be a good deal of competition in our conference this year,” senior Jordan Mixsell said. “Our game doesn’t really care about who you are or what your reputation is. All that matters is who shows up to play that day. It will be important for us to keep our intensity up for every game, no matter the opponent.”
Starting the day off at 3:30 p.m., the first game of the season commenced. Not letting Concordia score, Linfield was the first to put points up on the board. Sophomore Ashley Garcia scored the first point of the game, hitting a home run over the fence in left field during the second inning.
Concordia temporally pulled ahead by scoring two points during the beginning of the fourth inning, only to lose the lead in the second half off the inning when Mixsell scored off of sophomore Katy Brosig’s double. Later that inning, Brosig and senior Jaydee Baxter scored off of a triple hit by senior Emilee Lepp.
Linfield continued its lead into the sixth inning, where it scored three more runs, winning the game 7-3.
Not wasting any time, the team continued the doubleheader, starting a second game with Concordia.
Once again, Linfield took an early lead by putting two points on the scoreboard during the first inning. Lepp hit a double to center field, allowing freshman Grace Middelstadt to score.
The second run of the inning was scored off a sacrifice hit by senior Staci Doucette, which brought in Baxter.
The third inning proved to be a successful one, with the team bringing in five runs. Junior Karleigh Prestianni hit a home run, which also brought in junior Rachelle Ridout and Lepp.
A second home run by sophomore Haylie Watson during the inning also brought in sophomore Kristin Herren.
During Linfield’s final inning at bat, the team scored two more points after a second home run made by Prestianni.
The second game ended with a score of 10-3, putting the Wildcats record at 2-0.
The Wildcats were intended to play three doubleheaders against Whitworth University on Feb. 25- 27, however the first day of the competition was postponed due to high winds.
“We definitely have high hopes for this season,” sophomore Shelby VandeBergh said.
“We have talented returners and also a great freshmen class this year,” she said. “With that combination, I think we can do really well. I think we are all just looking forward to getting back on the field together as a team. We want to come together as a team and play our best softball at the end of the year.”
Ready for their next games, the team puts major emphasis on the team as a whole.
“What’s great about our team is that everyone has a role,” VandeBergh said. “Not one player carries the whole team. I think that goes back to our team motto, “as one.” Each person on the team has a role that is necessary for our success.”
With their final season starting, the seniors hope to pass something on the younger players.
“There’s a bond on our team that is unlike any other that I have been on and I hope that tradition of strong team chemistry continues,” Harvey said.
“It’s up to them what they want to make of their experience, but I know they will make it as enjoyable as possible.”
The softball teams next competition is on March 4 against Lewis & Clark University in Portland and March 5 at home against Pacific University.
Kaylyn Peterson/Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.