After three games in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament, the softball team enters the championship round with complete domination.
In the third game on May 12 versus Illinois Wesleyan University, the Wildcats kept the Titans from scoring. The first hit made by Titans outfielder Audra James, who singled to third base, but was quickly tagged out while trying to steal to second base.
The first three innings remained tight as both of the top teams made no runs.
During the third inning, three runs were scored by freshmen Grace Middelstadt and Kate Hasty and a home run from senior catcher Emilee Lepp.
No more runs were scored throughout the remainder of the game. The Wildcat defense remained strong allowing only at most one hit per inning for the Titans.
Senior Lauren Harvey allowed three hits during her four innings and sophomore Karina Paavola had one during the three innings she pitched.
The Wildcats took home the win with a score of 3-0, leading them to enter the winner’s bracket.
The second game against the Anderson University Ravens was the biggest shut out of the tournament. The Ravens entered with a 33-11 record, while Linfield had a record of 40-5. Within the first inning, the Wildcats scored six runs with the Ravens’ starter pitcher having to be relieved after five hits and five runs were scored while on the mound.
Throughout the game, the Ravens had difficulty hitting against the all-star pitcher Paavola. They were only able to gain three in comparison to Linfield’s 12 hits.
The Wildcats made two errors during the last inning, allowing the Ravens to load the bases. Paavola ended it quickly as she struck out the next two batters with her powerful pitches. The game ended with the score 8-0, allowing them to enter the next round.
The first shut out of the tournament against Benedictine gave the Wildcats a great start for the tournament.
No runs were gained during the first two innings. One ground ball was hit by the Eagles’ sophomore outfielder Kelly Mieszala. Another hit was made by their senior outfielder Laura Christenson in the top of the third.
When Linfield came up to bat, senior Jaydee Baxter, Middelstadt, and Lepp scored the three game-winning runs. Two of the runs were brought in by a successful double hit by senior Staci Doucette.
Harvey pitched a strong seven innings with only five hits made by the Eagles. Linfield brought in its first win with a score of 3-0.
The Wildcats are now placed in the champion bracket against the Illinois Wesleyan to defend their title as NCAA Division III Regional champions.
Ivanna Tucker/Sports editor
Ivanna Tucker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.