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You may not be aware, but the last home baseball series of the year will be a titanic collegiate clash this weekend.
There are two teams in the Northwest Conference this year that have been a step above the entire league, and each Linfield student has the chance to see them April 20 and 21 at Roy Helser field.
In my honest opinion, each Linfield student should attend. After all, how can one resist an epic collegiate clash?
One of the featured teams is Linfield. With a record of 15-3 in the NWC and 26-5 overall, Linfield is ranked No. 2 in the country.
The other team is George Fox. With a record of 17-4 in the NWC and 24-9 overall, George Fox is ranked No. 17 in the country.
“We are all excited for the Fox series…we have been on the road…so being home will be nice,” junior outfielder Kramer Lindell said.
The seismic movements from the series at Roy Helser field will be felt in the NWC standings. I’m not kidding, the standings might actually crumble to pieces. Roy Helser field will be shaking with intensity.
Needless to say, the stakes are high for these games.
“We want to win the series. If we do this and continue playing well afterward, we can put ourselves in a good position to win the league,” said Linfield starting pitcher, sophomore Chris Haddeland.
Haddeland, sophomore Aaron Thomassen and junior Zach Brandon have been one of the best starting pitching trios in the country this year. With ERA’s of 1.14, 1.08 and 2.98 respectively, Fox’s offense is in for a test of its own.
Linfield and George Fox’s pitching staffs need to be careful, however.
These two offenses are the best in the conference. Linfield All-American senior Tim Wilson is hitting .444, Lindell is hitting .440 and junior Nick Fisher is hitting .421.
There is only one player in the NWC that has a higher batting average than all three of them, and his name is Josh Rapacz. As you might guess, he plays for George Fox, and his .500 batting average is the fifth best in the country.
Linfield junior Jake Wylie is tied for second in the NWC in home runs with five. One of the other players with five home runs plays for George Fox.
In fact, George Fox and Linfield rank 1-2 in home runs in the NWC. They also rank 1-2 in OPS, stolen bases and runs scored.
“Our bats have come alive…if we keep swinging it like we can, there is no one that can beat us,” Lindell said.
On the pitching side, the teams rank 1-2 in ERA and home runs allowed, but Linfield has the advantage on the pitching side (2.35 ERA compared to Fox’s 3.39 ERA), and this may be a key factor in deciding who wins the series.
Both teams have shown they can hit, so the ‘Cats pitching and defense will have to continue the stellar work they have done all year.
“I am excited, it’s always fun to test yourself against a really good team…a prolific offense like George Fox,” Haddeland said.
The stage is set and the players will be tested. Hopefully, the standings and Roy Helser field will be able to handle the intensity that this three-game series promises to supply.
You don’t want to miss it. Titanic collegiate clashes don’t happen often.
Tyler Bradley/Sports columnist
Tyler Bradley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.