The Linfield baseball team discovered that runs scored are as prevalent in Lewiston, Idaho as wineries are in the Willamette Valley.
The ‘Cats finished their regular season at the Inland Cellular Tournament on May 4 and 5 in Lewiston, Idaho by breaking the scoreboard. They dispatched Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth 7-3 and 14-5, respectively, while getting slaughtered 20-8 against tough NAIA opponent Lewis-Clark State.
Senior Tim Wilson added another milestone to his amazing career during Saturday’s doubleheader, swiping four bases to bring his career total to 68. He is now the Linfield record holder.
In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, junior Jake Wylie launched his seventh home run of the season — a grand slam — and added a double and another RBI as well. He continued to rake in game two, going 2-4 with a run scored.
“The tournament was fun,” Wylie said.
Sophomore Chris Haddeland (11-1, 1.16 ERA) continued his dominant season, firing seven innings of scoreless ball. He gave up just one hit and two walks, while striking out six.
Game two was a demolition, but for once, Linfield took the beating.
Sophomore Aaron Thomassen (10-1, 2.67 ERA), one of the best pitchers in Division III all season, was lit up for 10 earned runs on nine hits and three walks. With the outing, his ERA ballooned from 1.51 to 2.67.
The bullpen did not do much better, with sophomores Joseph Stevick and Garrett Miller combining for nine runs, eight earned, on 12 hits and one walk. Senior Kenny Johnson, backup shortstop, completed the final inning, giving up one run.
Despite the pitching woes, the offense did put up eight runs on the board. Highlighted by a home run from junior Clayton Truex—who went 2-2 with three RBI—and a 3-5 day from junior Nick Fisher.
“It was a different experience than we are used to…it’s something that we remember but also move on from to our ultimate goal and keep winning,” Wylie said when asked about the loss.
Game three was a 14-5 Linfield victory against Whitworth.
Wilson went 4-6 with three RBI, and senior catcher Kyle Chamberlain crushed a two-run home run as a part of a 3-4 day with three runs scored and three RBI. Fisher added three RBI and Johnson also added three hits.
Junior Zach Brandon gave up five earned runs in five and 2/3 innings but still picked up his seventh victory of the season. Junior Justin Huckins picked up a long save—his seventh of the season—of three and 1/3 innings while striking out two.
Sophomore shortstop Corey VanDomelen also hit a triple during the game.
The ‘Cats carry their number one Division III ranking into a week off. On May 15th, Division III regionals begin, and the ‘Cats are looking forward to the day.
“We just need to keep focused and keep having great practices like we have done all season. We just need to stay sharp,” Wylie said.
Tyler Bradley/Sports columnist
Tyler Bradley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.