Linfield Wildcats
March 15, 2014
Extra, extra in Walla Walla
Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – After enjoying a relatively easy victory start to another Northwest Conference series thanks to a one-hit shutout spun by Chris Haddeland (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.), top-ranked Linfield had to dig deep and unearth some late-inning offensive magic to rally for an 11-inning victory over Whitman on a wild Saturday at Borleske Stadium.

Down 10-1 through four innings, the Wildcats (14-3, 7-1 NWC) avoided a second Northwest Conference setback by spouting off a whopping 12 runs in the later stages of the game, including six in the sixth frame. The comeback thwarted a valiant upset bid by the Missionaries, who fell to 10-10-1 on the year, including 2-7-1 in NWC contests.

GAME 1: Linfield 5, Whitman 0
Following up his first complete game of the season against Willamette with an even better result against Whitman, Haddeland rang up five strikeouts while allowing just four baserunners on one hit, two walks and one hit by pitch.

Linfield's All-America junior started strong and cruised through Game 1, retiring eight straight Missionaries in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames before Ozzy Braff finally broke up the no-hitter with Whitman's lone hit of the afternoon. But the shutout was only seriously threatened once, when back-to-back errors allowed Kyle Buckham to reach the far corner in the bottom half of the third before Haddeland coaxed Braff into a foul out to right field to end the inning.

Offensively, Linfield did most of its damage in the first frame, and tacked on one additional run each in the third and fifth innings. Corey VanDomelen (Jr., Tigard, Ore.) and Eric Lawson (So., Mill Creek, Wash.) led off the afternoon with consecutive base hits, and Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) scored Linfield's leadoff man with an RBI single to left field. Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) plated the next two runs with a shot to center field.

Big hits from Nick Fisher (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) led to the Wildcats' final two runs. In the third, the junior right fielder ripped a triple to right center before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Truex. Then, in the fifth, Fisher doubled, stole third and came home on an error by the Missionary catcher.

Linfield totaled 11 hits – 10 off Whitman starter Sterling Spilinek, who took the loss – while Braff supplied the lone hit for the Missionaries, and Cameron Young and Kyle Moyes drew walks for the home team.

GAME 2: Linfield 13, Whitman 11 – 11 innings
Whitman exploded for six runs in the third, and scored four more times in the fourth for what appeared to be an insurmountable 10-1 advantage. But Truex, VanDomelen and the Wildcats had other ideas, rallying to tie the game in the eighth and force extra innings.

Truex' two-runer homer knotted the score at 11-11, and VanDomelen scored the game-winning and insurance runs in the 11th on a single to center field. Linfield relievers Garrett Miller (Jr., Corvallis, Ore.), Joseph Stevick (Jr., Bremerton, Wash.) and Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.) supported the rally by limiting the Missionaries to three hits over the final five innings. 

Peter Carmichael sparked the Missionary offense with a leadoff single, and came around to score on Braff's base hit to center field. Whitman totaled six hits – five of them singles – as the home team methodically built its lead, brick by brick.

The power came in the fourth frame, when Aaron Cohen smacked a three-run homer to push the spread to 10-1.

Linfield scored once in the fifth frame on Fisher's sacrifice fly before storming back with a six-spot in the sixth. Lindell drew a leadoff walk, Jo Carroll (Jr., Bend, Ore.) doubled and Ryan Pladson (Fr., Sammamish, Wash.) took four balls to load the bases and drive Whitman starter Brett Lambert from the game. Kekoa Kaulukukui (So., Aiea, Hawaii) plated two runners with a single, as did Truex later in the inning.

Cohen responded for the Missionaries with an RBI double in Whitman's half of the inning, but the home team failed to record another run the rest of the day.

The Wildcats caught up in the top of the eighth on Truex' two-run homer. Neither team recorded a hit in the ninth frame, though both teams put runners aboard. Benefitting from consecutive intentional walks, Whitman loaded the bags in the top of the 10th, but could not cash in as Cohen was called out for interference and MacLean Harned was put out at the plate.

In the top of the 11th, Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) reached on a fielder's choice and Laboda drew a walk. Jackson Ruckert (Jr., Albany, Ore.), pinch running for McClellan, and Laboda both scored on VanDomelen's one-out base hit.

Johnny Chow reached on a fielder's choice and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, but Manley dashed Whitman's final hope at the upset with a strikeout and groundout to end the game.

‘CAT SCRATCH: Haddeland threw the 10th complete game and third shutout of his career…the Game 1 shutout was the fifth of the season for the Linfield defense, and second against a NWC opponent…the Wildcats preserved a lengthy winning streak against the Missionaries, pushing its number of consecutive victories to 40…Whitman last defeated Linfield 8-6 during the 2002 season…Game 2 was Linfield's first extra-inning contest of the year and first since a 13-inning bout with George Fox that secured a share of the NWC championship in 2013.

COMING UP: Game 3 action between Linfield and Whitman gets underway Sunday at noon.

Action Image

Kramer Lindell
Hits 3-for-4 in Game 1

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