Facing their last opponents of the season before the Northwest Conference tournament, the Wildcats captured the No. 1 spot in the conference after winning three of the four games against Willamette University on April 14 and 15.
The Wildcats took the field knowing that any more losses would put them at jeopardy of losing the home field advantage for the NWC tournament. For the first game of the day, Linfield started out behind the Bearcats, when they scored their first run during the second inning. Coming back, the Wildcats scored three runs during the fourth inning. Senior Staci Doucette hit a home run, allowing herself and fellow senior Emilee Lepp to score. Freshman Kate Hasty also scored off a throwing error made by Willamette’s catcher.
Linfield scored its final two runs of the game during the seventh inning. Doucette hit a second home run, and junior Karleigh Prestianni was able to score off a single hit by sophomore Katy Brosig.
Willamette made a final attempt to catch up, but only managed to score two more runs, ending the game 5-3.
Starting their final game of the day, the Wildcats scored the first three runs of the game in the second inning. All three runs were scored off a home run hit by Brosig. During the third inning, Prestianni hit a double putting freshman Grace Middelstadt in scoring position, and Linfield scored its fourth run. Scoring Linfield’s final run was Lepp, who scored off a single hit by Doucette in the fifth inning.
The Wildcats held off the Bearcats for the rest off the game, allowing Linfield to win 5-2.
Linfield had the home field advantage when facing Willamette for the first double header of the weekend. Losing the first game against the Bearcats, 2-0, the Wildcats came back and won the second game, 8-0.
With this weekend’s wins, Linfield remains in the No. 1 spot for the Northwest Conference. The Wildcats will host the Northwest Conference tournament April 21 and 22.
“Once the Conference tournament starts, we have to forget about everything that happened earlier this season because none of that matters anymore,” sophomore Ashley Garcia said. “What matters is taking the tournament.”
While the team had hoped for no losses this season, senior Jaydee Baxter said that the team feels good about the upcoming NWC tournament.
“We didn’t want to lose any games, but it’s nice going in being the first place team, having home field advantage and being the number one seeded team,” Baxter said.
With the seniors all playing their last conference game before the NWC tournament, Baxter passes on advice for younger players based on her own experience.
“We work hard and we have really long practices,” Baxter said. “Jackson expects a lot from us, and so just having the mentality of working hard and doing your best to win games and doing things right really helps.”
Kaylyn Peterson/Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.