Tag Archives: Column

Baseball team has opportunity to finish high in final standings

This Linfield baseball team is going to contend for the Northwest Conference title this year. In fact, they look like they can win it.

Picked to finish third in the NWC this year by the coaches, it’s obvious that their ceiling is much higher than third place if you watch the team.

Except you wouldn’t have known this if you judged them by their first game of the season.

When starting a baseball season, winning a game 6-0 is definitely an ideal outcome. If you are on the losing side of the coin, however, the taste in a team’s mouth is sour—not Sour Patch Kids style—and unwelcome.

Unfortunately for the Linfield baseball team, it started the 2013 season on the losing side of the coin down at a tournament in Arizona. La Verne College was the team who scored six runs. Linfield stranded 12 men on base including five men on third.

This was definitely not the way to start the season, especially considering the disappointing end to 2012. Last year’s team was ranked as high as number two in the country, but fell out of the rankings completely later in the season and finished a pedestrian fourth place in the NWC.

Luckily, Linfield righted the ship in a huge way by eviscerating Redlands University, 15-3. The team hasn’t looked back since then and has dominated in every facet of the game.

In the six games following Redlands, the pitching staff has fired three shutouts and given up a total of three earned runs. That’s a team Earned Run Average (ERA) of .5 with a strikeout per nine-inning rate of 7.32 and a walks per nine-inning rate of 1.97. That’s incredible.

The staff is due for some ERA regression—.5 is not sustainable—but a six game stretch of dominance like that with a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.71/1 means the NWC should be afraid: the pitching staff is a force to be reckoned with.
Good pitching goes hand-in-hand with good defense, and during this weekend, the defense only made two errors and both occurred in the same game. A play that was indicative of the stellar defense by the team was a diving snag by senior third baseman Michael Hopp on Feb. 24 against Oregon Institute of Technology.

The hitting has been outstanding. Even by including the La Verne game, the team has a slash line of .338/.404/.463 and the team was hitting .462 with runners in scoring position and less than two outs entering the game against Oregon Tech on Sunday.

“The way last season ended made us all work harder in the offseason…we are definitely using the disappointment as motivation and we want to be the best,” junior Jake Wiley said. “The team is playing really well right now…the chemistry we have together is amazing.”

Wylie himself launched an absolute moonshot over the left field fence in the fourth inning on Sunday, easily traveling more than 400 feet.

If this seven-game stretch is indicative of the potential of this team, they can travel like Wylie’s moonshot. It seems as if La Verne and last season are in the rear view, and the coaches probably made a mistake when putting Linfield in third place.

Tyler Bradley
Sports columnist

Tyler Bradley can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Turn your sex life green

As an environmental studies major and the author of this sex column, I think I have found the most awesome thing: green sex! I know, I know, there’s that word again: “green.”

Many people are sick of it, especially when it’s only used as a marketing ploy or plastered on something that isn’t environmentally friendly or sustainable. And paired with sex—how can sex be more environmentally friendly?

The company is Scarlet Girl based in Portland with another location in the San Francisco Bay Area. Similar to Pure Romance, this company employs consultants who throw “pleasure par- ties” all across the country and it sells online. What makes it different is its “green practices.”

It does all the expected sustainable actions a company would do. It uses electronic means when accept- able, recycles paperwork with no sensitive information (shreds and recycles the rest) and reuses any kind of boxes for shipment. It even gathers and donates phones to domestic abuse prevention organizations.

But there’s something that makes this company really stand out. Scarlet Girl recycles sex toys, and it is the only adult company to do so. Portlandia episode, any- one? It sounds awful and unsanitary, but it’s not what first comes to mind. The toys are not reused. Rather, they are broken down in a method developed by an environmental engineer and recycled by OSHA and EPA regulations.

They also provide toys that are more eco-friendly, such as a solar powered bullet, a hand powered vibrator and various rechargeable toys. There are also vegan and water- based lubricants.

For customers who want to be greener, there are recommended alternatives to birth control and safe sex.

The hormones from hormonal birth control are released into waterways by urine, a contributor to excess estrogen in the environment.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are an alternative because they use fewer hormones than the pill, patch or ring during a long period of time.

Condoms are another option to reduce hormones in the body and released into the environment, but they create waste.
Besides the traditional condoms, there are a few other options that are veg- an, hypoallergenic and bio- degradable, but each has a trade-off that must be considered. For example, lamb- skin condoms are natural but they are obviously not vegan, and do not protect against STDs.

Kourtney Bailey

Sex Columnist

Kourtney Bailey can be reached at linfieldreviewbailey@gmail.com

Head-scratching home concerns for Wildcats

Hey ’Cats. Remember last spring when Mac was so consistently rainy and wet that the softball team spent most of its “home games” at other neutral locations? Back then it was a reassuring thing to know that our team could win on the road, but I still bemoaned the lack of home games.

This year, I’d take the neutral games in a heartbeat. In fact, I think I’d go so far as to say both the softball and baseball programs would be better off spending the postseason on the road come May. Don’t get me wrong, both programs boast quality teams. But Catball has surrendered all three of its season losses at home and the baseball squad has dropped as many at home (5) as they have on the road.

The baseball team was overrated in the preseason. I think that’s clear by now. This club started the year at No. 2 in the nation and proceeded to go 20-10 through the first 30 games; not exactly a stellar winning percentage. The ’Cats have free-fallen 19 spots to No. 21 and left their postseason hopes muddled.

At second place in the Northwest Conference with nine games remaining, a conference title and automatic postseason berth is still possible. But only five of those games come against conference foes and none against top-ranked Pacific.

Winning out will help the team’s case for a regional playoff berth, as will the fact that they’ve been selected to host one of the Division-III regional sites for the fourth time in the past five years. But unless they can come on strong in the end of the season, I really don’t know that being home is a good thing. It would beat being left out and having to watch other teams play at Roy Helser field, though.

At the risk of igniting a firestorm around the Catball loyal, I’m also worried about three puzzling home losses and what it means for this team’s postseason odds. Yes, they are the top-ranked team in the nation; yes, they are a solid club from top to bottom; yes, every team loses games.

I’m just surprised and a bit concerned that the odds-on favorite to bag the national title has lost three home contests. If the comforts of home don’t bring in the wins, road games against the nation’s elite could be potentially dangerous.

On the other hand, I hear Willamette has a fantastic pitcher, and PLU has shown they’re worthy of an at-large bid for the D-III regional playoffs, so maybe I’m overreacting. Or maybe its a good thing the school’s bid to host a regional site was denied. We’ll see. Go ’Cats.

Chris Forrer/
Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Dirty tricks plague professional league

Football is a contact sport. It’s violent, it’s rough. At times it’s downright brutal. Those crushing hits and big-time sacks are a major reason why football is America’s most-watched sport and why the game has continued to grow in popularity season after season. But there are rules and lines that should never be crossed, even in a sport as physical as football. Recently, one story has made me question how solid those lines really are.

Last month, the NFL’s New Orleans Saints found themselves in a whirlwind of trouble when it came to light that head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had been offering cash bounties to their defensive players to put big hits on certain players from an opposing team during the course of the past three seasons. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis were also implicated and all four men received suspensions ranging from six games to a full year.

Then the rabbit hole got deeper. After being warned by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to cease their bounty program as it was under investigation again by NFL, Payton supposedly instructed Williams to avoid any “inappropriate conduct.” Williams apparently didn’t care. Last Thursday, an audio recording of a pre-game speech before the Saints’ playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers was released. The defensive coordinator calls for his players to lay hits to the head of a concussion-prone receiver, to target another player’s outside ACL and that he wanted running back Frank Gore’s head “sideways.”

I struggle to categorize how much of this is inappropriate rhetoric and how much is just a reality of the game. Calling for players to lay hits on an opposing player’s head, especially one who is concussion-prone, is the most cut-and-dry: the NFL has made it abundantly clear that hits to the head are illegal and subject to penalty by fine.

But what about targeting a part of a player’s body that’s been prone to injury? If you’re a defenseman heading in for a tackle against a player with a reconstructed shoulder, you’re probably thinking that a big hit on that shoulder could take that player out of the game. Is that wrong? You’re making a legitimate tackle in a legitimate way, and if you remove one key player from the opposing team you’ve just given your teammates an advantage.

As far as I know there’s nothing in the rule book that prevents targeting injured parts of the body. In fact, I’m willing to bet that whether it’s openly discussed in the locker room or not most teams have an understanding that it’s just part of the game. Whether you think it’s ethically acceptable or not, players are always going to do whatever they can legally get away with to gain a competitive advantage. That’s just the reality of sports.

If the NFL uses this development to create new legislation that bans any kind of targeting then it’ll be time to change our collective thinking. But until then, it’s just d-fense.

Chris Forrer/
Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be  reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Spring athletic seasons begin to take shape

Hey ‘Cats. Now that it’s March, spring sports are in full swing. However, the season picture is starting to take shape more clearly for some sports than others. The softball program’s title defense is going well but not without hiccups, while the baseball team seems to be sliding into inconsistent habits that question their lofty rise to No. 2 in the nation only a short while ago.

It’s no secret that the softball program has risen to new heights in the last year, starting with a slew of NCAA records and ending with a new national championship trophy in the display case and a matching placard in the adjoining hall in the Ted Wilson Gymnasium.

However, one extraordinary record just fell out of their reach on Sunday: the nation’s first undefeated season since 1995.

Catball had yet to drop a contest this season until they got down early to Pacific Lutheran University and ended up losing 9-5; given that nearly all of their games have ended after only five innings because of the mercy rule, you folks were probably as surprised as I was by a four-run margin of defeat.

To be fair, an undefeated season in 2012 might have been the most impressive achievement in the history of Oregon sports. In 1995, the season only consisted of 15 games. If Linfield had gone undefeated this season, they would have played in and won more than three times that many games. And to be completely honest, no matter how good this team is, a 45-50 game winning streak would have been unprecedented, so losing out on this one really isn’t indicative of how this team will fare in the long run.

Senior slugger Emilee Lepp going 0-4 at the plate was a bit concerning though. Shutting down this team’s top hitter is a sure-fire way to make games against the ’Cats a lot closer.

I wish I could say things were going as picture-perfect for the baseball team, but lately a few puzzling losses have left me scratching my head and wondering if this year’s team might have been more than a little over hyped in the preseason.

After starting the year at a red-hot 6-1, the team has gone 2-3 in their last five games. Two of those losses were to 6-9 Pacific and one to woeful 4-12 Willamette, teams that this highly touted Linfield group had no business losing against. Earlier in the season they escaped an embarrassing loss against 2-14 Lewis & Clark on a ninth-inning run.

Are the teams at the bottom of the NWC playing better ball than their terrible records suggest, or did Linfield just stumble big time? I hate to say it, but I’m inclined to lean towards the latter, the NWC isn’t exactly the deepest conference in the country.

The slide has left the ’Cats at 6-3 in conference play and second place in the NWC behind 4-1 Pacific Lutheran. Thankfully, the ’Cats have only fallen as far as No. 5 nationally. However, if losses like these continue, that national ranking isn’t going to stay so high and this extremely loaded team that on paper looks like a national title contender is going to have a lot of questions to answer in the off-season.

On a brighter note, here’s a shout-out to Linfield pole vaulter Catherine Street, who finally captured a national title in the event that she has otherwise owned nationally for the past four years.

Street is only the third female track and field athlete in Linfield history to own in individual national championship.

In the last four years, Street has run up an impressive list of achievements, including four All-American team selections, the West Region’s female field athlete of the year and the Division-III record for indoor pole vault. A national title is a nice feather to add to her cap and almost certainly cements her place as a future Linfield athletics hall of famer.

One more parting shot on the women’s side of things: the tennis team is playing out-of-their-mind good this season and sports a 7-0 record, all of which came in conference play. Sister sensations Kiana and Kaila Nip are 7-0 in doubles play and also have yet to lose in singles play. The program nabbed an NCAA tournament berth last year but lost in the opening round; could this be a team primed for a playoff run?

The team isn’t nationally ranked, but don’t count them out on that alone. This is a talented team with some unfinished business, and that can go a long way come playoff time.

Chris Forrer/
Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.