Game 2 Box Score
PARKLAND, Wash. – Putting the finishing touches on a four-game season sweep of their Northwest Conference rival and defending NCAA Division III national champion, the Linfield Wildcats prevailed twice, 8-3 and 6-1, over nemesis Pacific Lutheran Monday on the PLU diamond.
The outcome may have taken 48 hours longer than expected thanks to a suspension of play caused by rain, but the results were not entirely unexpected.
Linfield (33-6, 25-3 NWC) had already clinched its 10th straight NWC title heading into Saturday’s doubleheader. PLU (25-15, 18-10) had to settle for second place.
The NWC’s two traditional softball powers, plus two other teams to be determined Tuesday, all advance to this week’s NWC Tournament, Saturday and Sunday, at Linfield’s Del Smith Stadium. The winner of the double-elimination tournament claims the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Playoffs. Additional NWC teams may qualify for the NCAA postseason, but as at-large representatives.
PLU got on the scoreboard in the first inning before Linfield evened the contest. A high throw to first base by catcher Katie Lowery allowed Ashley Garcia (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) to score from third base.
The ‘Cats later added a pair of runs to take a 3-1 lead in the top of the third inning.
PLU put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the inning, but Amanda Hall hit into a fielder’s choice, catching Melissa Harrelson off the bag at second base and Karina Paavola (Jr., Kelso, Wash.) struck out Kaaren Hatlen swinging to end the inning.
Spencer Sherwin hit what would have been a run-scoring single in the PLU fourth, but was ruled out of the batter’s box on the play and the Wildcats maintained their two-run advantage.
Linfield broke the game wide open with five runs in the sixth. Katy Brosig (Jr., Forest Grove, Ore.) gave the ‘Cats a bit of breathing room, smacking a two-out, two-run homer over the left-field wall that extended the Linfield lead to 5-1. Back-to-back two-run doubles by Megan Wallo (Sr., Aloha, Ore.) and Karleigh Prestianni (Sr., Grants Pass, Ore.) soon followed and the Wildcats were firmly in control.
PLU loaded the bases on Paavola in the bottom of the sixth. Glenelle Nitta drove a ball deep to the outfield that scored Hatlen and when Lowery’s singled up the middle, Kelsey Robinson scored to make to close to within 8-3.
Charged with four errors in the game, the Lutes were their own worst enemy at times.
PLU scored its only run in the second inning on Sherwin’s RBI bunt.
Linfield piled up all six of its runs in the fifth. Lisa Yamamoto (Soph., Carson City, Nev.) made it 6-1 with her 12th homer of the season, this one to left field that scored three runs.
Paavola and McNealy combined to strike out eight Lutes without allowing a walk. Paavola picked up the win to improve to 19-2.
Leah Butters (7-3) took the loss.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Saturday’s first game included a pair of matching 36-minute rain delays. . . the Lutes committed five errors in the twinbill, including four in the opener. . . Paavola struck out 12 PLU batters across 12 innings . . . Prestianni hit her 50th career double in Game 1 and stands third all-time in the Linfield record book.
AHEAD: The NWC Tournament comes to McMinnville for the second straight year. Game times are 11 a.m, 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11, 1:30 and 4 on Sunday. As this is NWC-santioned event, all spectators will be charged admission. All-day passes are priced at $8 for adults and $5 for students with student ID. Children under 12 are admitted free of charge.
12th home run of season
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128