Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Northwest Conference foes Linfield and Whitworth went toe-to-toe for more than seven hours Saturday afternoon at Del Smith Stadium, each team earning a heart-wrenching extra-inning victory.
Fifth-ranked Linfield won the opener 7-6 in nine innings before Whitworth fended off the Wildcats 7-6 in a record-tying 15-inning stalemate.
Linfield (1-1, 1-1 NWC) and Whitworth (4-4, 1-1 NWC) complete their four-game series Sunday at Del Smith Stadium.
Linfield designated player Lisa Yamamoto (Jr., Carson City, Nev.) drilled a first-pitch solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring the Wildcats back from an early three-run deficit in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams.
Yamamoto’s first career home run thwarted a valiant upset bid by the the visiting Pirates, who put the nine-time champion Wildcats on their heels from the very first inning.
Wildcats senior outfielder Megan Wallo went 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Katy Brosig (Sr., Forest Grove, Ore.) went 2 for 3 with a pair of runs batted in. Yamamoto (3 for 5), Grace Middelstadt (Jr., Battle Ground, Wash.) and McKenna Spieth (Jr., Vancouver, Wash.) also turned in multi-hit games.
Whitworth manufactured a run to break the ice in the top of the first inning. Jamie Brunner singled, stole second base, then advanced to third on wild pitch. Bailey Kasler’s single drove home Brunner.
Linfield appeared to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning but instead settled for a 1-1 tie. After Wallo singled, an errant throw allowed Middelstadt, the leadoff hitter, to score. Wallo raced around the bases and seemlingly gave the Wildcats the advantage but her foot was ruled not to have touched home plate.
Instead, it was the Pirates who moved in front 2-1 in the second when Julia Johnson doubled to start the inning, moved to second on a ground out by Alysssa Martinez and scored on a single by Caylan Haehl.
A two-run double by Kasler in the Whitworth third pushed the visitors’ advantage to 4-1. A passed ball by that got away from the catcher, Spieth, put runners at second and third with no outs to set the table for Kasler’s clutch double. The Pirates continued to threaten with runners at the corners but the Wildcats engineered an unconventional double play, catching Kasler and Johnson stealing simultaneously.
The Wildcats plated two runs in the bottom of the third but failed to capitalize on a bases-loaded situtation that could have turned the tide in their favor. A sacrifice by Haylie Watson (Sr., Puyallup, Wash.) allowed Wallo to score and Katy Brosig (Sr., Forest Grove, Ore.) drove home Karleigh Prestianni on the next at-bat to cut the deficit to 4-3. The ‘Cats loaded the bases on Pirates starter Taylor Gilbert with two outs but Gilbert kept her composure, striking out Spieth with a full-count pitch to hold Linfield at bay.
A RBI double to left field by Megan John off Linfield freshman reliever Maddy Dunn (Soph., Lake Oswego, Ore.) in the fifth plated another Whitworth run. Dunn then fanned Johnson to end the inning, stranding John at second.
Linfield put runners at first and second with one out in the fifth, but Gilbert got Ashley Garcia (Sr., Beaveton, Ore.) to fly out and Yamamoto lined out to silence the threat.
In the sixth, the Wildcats loaded the bases on Gilbert with one out. Watson delivered a chopping single that allowed Middelstadt to beat the throw home from third. Linfield then tied the game at 5 when Brosig got a floating sacrifice to the edge of the infield that sent home the crucial the game-tying run.
Shelby VandeBergh (Sr., Beaverton, Ore.) took over for Dunn in the circle to begin the seventh and the junior righthander promptly issued a walk to Sacha Clow. A single and a sacrifice gave Whitworth runners at second and third with two outs and a timely fielding miscue at first base by Watson allowed Clow and the Pirates to take a 6-5 lead. VandeBergh then walked Johnson to put Whitworth back up by two runs, 7-5.
The ‘Cats put together another rally in the bottom of the seventh. Wallo delivered a RBI single to knot the game once more. The Wildcats loaded the bases on Gilbert but Watson flew out to right field to send the game to extra innings.
The teams combined for 26 hits, 15 by the Wildcats. The game also featured five errors, three at the Pirates’ expense. VandeBergh (1-0) earned the victory in relief, allowing two hits and a couple of walks across three innings.
Kasler went 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles and drove in three runs. Brunner was 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Gilbert (1-3) struck out five Wildcats while surrendering 14 hits and four walks.
Linfield starter Karina Paavola (Sr., Kelso, Wash.) lasted four innings before being relieved by Dunn. Paavola allowed six hits, four earned runs and a couple of walks in her season debut.
The slipper was on the other foot in the nightcap as the Pirates played catch up in the early going before prevailing in extra innings in dramatic fashion.
Riley Fritz’s sacrifice RBI scored Haehl from third base in the top of the 15th, giving the Pirates an exhausting victory over their conference rivals.
VandeBergh and Fritz waged a stingy pitching tug-of-war through the first four innings of the nightcap.
Prestianni got the Wildcats going offensively in the first inning with a solo home run that cleared the left-field fence. Brunner then drilled a two-out RBI triple in the top of the third to pull the Pirates even at 1.
With two outs in the fourth, Whitworth loaded the bases but VandeBergh struck out Clow looking on a full-count pitch to retire the side. Linfield countered in the bottom of the frame with Garcia’s solo homer that pushed the hosts in front 2-1.
The Pirates seized momentum with three consecutive hits to start the fifth. Brunner doubled to lead off the inning, then Kasler singled to drive Brunner home, tying the game once more. John’s double to the left-field wall scored Kasler from second. After a pitching change, the Pirates made it 4-2 with Heather Hesselgesser’s RBI single to center field.
In the Linfield sixth, Yamamoto crushed her second home run of the day with two-run blast that brought the Wildcats into a 4-all tie.
Prestianni doubled with two outs in the seventh but Gilbert got Brosig to pop out, forcing extra innings.
Fritz delivered a bases-loaded RBI single for a 5-4 lead and Brunner followed it up with another run-scoring single that pushed the margin to two.
Linfield responded by loading the bases in the bottom of the inning. Spieth tapped a sacrifice to score pinch hitter Chelan Guischer from third, then Garcia stole home for the game-tying run.
In the 10th, Garcia planted a standup double and Yamamoto walked, but Fritz struck out Dunn and Spieth, giving the Pirates new life.
VandeBergh lasted 4 1/3 innings before giving way to Montana McNealy (Jr., Aloha, Ore.), who struck out five Pirates while limiting Whitworth to two hits in 3 2/3 innings. Paavola, Dunn and then Vandebergh all returned to close the game for the ‘Cats.
In the 15th, Whitworth went in front for good after Haehl singled and advanced on a passed ball, then beat the throw home on a deep sacrifice fly by Clow to left field.
Garcia had three hits while Prestianni, Watson, Guischer and VandeBergh each accounted for two hits, part of Linfield’s 14-hit output.
Hesselgesser had four hits and Clow and Haehl had three knocks to pace Whitworth. Riley fanned six batters, gave way to Gilbert for one at-bat, then returned to finish the game in the circle.
Fritz pitched 14 innings with 10 strikeouts, giving up 12 hits, five earned runs and four walks.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Twenty-five different batters saw action in the extended nightcap as well as a combined nine pitchers. Together, the teams paired for 32 hits and stranded 25 runners, 13 by the Pirates.
The three-hour, 43-minute standoff equaled the longest contest in Linfield softball history in terms of number of innings played. Linfield also went 15 innings against Trinity (Texas) in the 2005 NCAA regional playoffs. That game stretched to four hours in length.
Brosig, Wallo and Garcia each equaled the Linfield single-game record of seven at-bats.
COMING UP: Live action will be broadcast on the internet beginning at 11:50 a.m. Sunday, approximately 10 minutes prior to the first pitch.
10 strikeouts, 12 1/3 innings pitched
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