Close win gives ‘Cats a chance for D3 title

Spencer Beck/ For the Review Junior shortstop Corey VanDomelen steals second base at the bottom of the first inning against UW-Stevens Point. This was one of three hits that VanDomelen got in the game.

Casie Gaza/Senior sports reporter

It was a momentous week for the Wildcat baseball team, which qualified for the 2014 NCAA Division III World Series. 

The Wildcats started off the playoffs against LeTourneau University of Texas. With Linfield’s junior ace pitcher Chris Haddeland on the mound, the Wildcats took the field with confidence and fearlessness. However, it was a suspenseful game. With both teams throwing their ace pitcher, there was no doubt that both teams struggled offensively. The score remained tied 0-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning as the Wildcat’s senior outfielder Kramer Lindell hit a home run putting Linfield on the scoreboard 1-0. Lindell’s home run was the only run scored for the entire match, and Linfield advanced to the quarterfinals against Trinity University of Texas.  

In the 2013 NCAA regionals, the Wildcats defeated Trinity for the NCAA Division III National Championship title. However, though Trinity had hoped to redeem themselves, , the Wildcats had a different plan. 

This year the ’Cats were simply better as they finished the game with a score of 4-1. The beginning of the game proved to be suspenseful as spectators predicted the same match as last year’s championship. 

Nonetheless, the ’Cats came up big in the bottom of the third inning roping in three out of the four runs. With a single to left field, senior Clayton Truex drove in two runs, while teammate, Lindell singled to center field for one more RBI. 

Linfield saw no response from Trinity and topped off the grudge match with one more run in the bottom of the seventh, an RBI credited to senior outfielder Nick Fischer. 

With the win over Trinity, the ’Cats’ journey back to the World Series remained alive and they advanced once more into the semifinal match against UW-Stevens Point. 

UW-Stevens Point was another exciting game for the Wildcats. In the top of the first and second inning, Linfield scored two runs. The first run came from a home run by Fischer and the second run came from a home run by junior Jo Carroll. However, Stevens Point responded by driving in one run in the bottom of the third. 

Linfield then drove in one more run in the top of the fourth with an RBI from freshman Scott Hilpert. Stevens Point then came back with one run in the bottom of the sixth. 

Stevens Point would almost score one more run in the bottom of the eighth after a home run. However, because the player did not touch first base Stevens Point was not credited with the run and the final score was 3-2. 

Stevens Point ended up playing Linfield again in the championship match of the regional series on May 17. 

On the mound to start for the Wildcats was Justin Davis, a junior right-handed pitcher from Sherwood, Ore. In the seventh inning, junior Corey VanDomelen came up huge for the ’Cats with a double to left field, driving in two runs and giving Linfield a 3-2 lead. Carroll drove in a fianl run for the ’Cats, making the score 4-2. Haddeland closed out the game. 

The Wildcats victory allowed them to advance to Appleton, Wis., to defend their National Championship title. 

After the game coach Scott Brosius said, “It doesn’t get any easier year to year.” 

“We were really good on the mound and defensively all weekend,” he said.

Casie Gaza can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

Spencer Beck/ For the Review Linfield baseball team players embrace after winning the regional tournament and securing a spot to compete for the Division III title.

Spencer Beck/ For the Review
Linfield baseball team players embrace after winning the regional tournament and securing a spot to compete for the Division III title.

Spencer Beck/ For the Review The Linfield baseball team celebrates its 4-2 win against UW-Stevens Point on May 17 at home. This win catapulted the ’Cats toward the Division III national title.

Spencer Beck/ For the Review
The Linfield baseball team celebrates its 4-2 win against UW-Stevens Point on May 17 at home. This win catapulted the ’Cats toward the Division III national title.