Willamette Softball Team to Compete at NWC Tournament

Bearcats will Battle Pacific Lutheran in First Round on Saturday

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University softball team, 20-13 overall and 19-9 in the Northwest Conference, has qualified for the NWC Tournament and will compete at the four-team, double-elimination event this weekend on the Linfield College campus in McMinnville, Ore. Willamette is the #3 seed and will take on the #2 seed, Pacific Lutheran University, in the first round on Saturday, April 21.

The schedule for the opening round of the tournament begins with #1-seed Linfield (35-3, 25-3 NWC) taking on #4-seed George Fox University (20-20, 15-13 NWC) in Game 1 at 11 a.m. (PDT) on Saturday. Willamette and Pacific Lutheran (34-10, 24-4 NWC) will battle in Game 2 at 1:30 p.m.

The two losing teams in the first round will play in Game 3 at 4 p.m. and the two winners from the first round will play in Game 4 at 6:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Game 5 will match the winner of Game 3 against the loser of Game 4 at 11 a.m. (PDT). The team that wins Game 5 will take on the winner of Game 4 in Game 6 at 1:30 p.m. If both teams have just one loss following Game 6, the teams will play again in Game 7 at 4 p.m. The winner of the tournament will receive the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Willamette University (20-13, 19-9 NWC)

Willamette has been led by the solid pitching of senior Alex Watilo (RHP, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS). Watilo owns a 1.79 earned run average this season with 77 strikeouts in 113 2/3 innings pitched. She has thrown 14 complete games and limited opponents to a .219 batting average.

During her last 10 appearances, including nine starts, Watilo has been even more dominant.

In those games, she has achieved a 0.92 ERA with 40 strikeouts and a .177 opponent batting average over 61 innings. The recent stretch features a two-hit shutout of Linfield in a 2-0 win in McMinnville on April 14. It also includes a complete-game effort at Pacific Lutheran that included 10 scoreless innings before PLU scored the games only run in the 11th inning.

Watilo has a 2.31 career ERA with 251 career strikeouts. She is Willamette's all-time leader in career pitching victories with a 51-13 record. She has won 10 or more game all four seasons.

On offense, the Bearcats have seven players hitting above .295 for the season. Theresa Martin (Fr., 3B, Modesto, CA/Johansen HS) leads the team with a .423 batting average, while Kelli Snyder (Jr., C, Longview, WA/Kelso HS) ranks second with a .412 average.

Yvonne Drabin (Jr., CF, Freemont, CA/Moreau Catholic HS) is hitting .397, Suzannah Von Trapp (Sr., DP/3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) is batting .365 and Heather Winslow (Fr., 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) is hitting .354. Other top batters for the Bearcats are Jessica Barry (Jr., LF, Cupertino, CA/Monte Vista HS/UNLV) at .305 and Mica Romero (Sr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian School) at .297.

Romero has been particularly strong in recent weeks. In the final 18 games of the season, she ranked second on the team with a .381 batting average.

During her career, Romero has registered a .355 batting average, with 116 runs, 102 RBIs and 13 homers, plus school records for doubles (41) and walks (79).  Barry has a .339 career batting average and is 42 of 45 on career stolen bases.

This year, Barry leads the team with 27 runs, while Winslow has scored 25 times and Romero has cross the plate 22 times. Martin tops the offensive chart with 28 RBIs, while Winslow has driven in 19 runs. Winslow ranks first for the Bearcats with five home runs. Romero has pounded out nine of WU's 44 doubles this season.

Linfield College (35-3, 25-3 NWC)

Linfield, ranked #1 in NCAA Division III, by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), is led by a powerful offense and strong pitching. The Wildcats lead the nation with 63 home runs. Staci Doucette (Sr., 1B) tops the national individual statistics with 17 home runs. She is batting .505 for the season. Karleigh Prestianni (Jr., 3B) is hitting .427 with 10 doubles and eight homers.

Jaydee Baxter (Sr., OF) has attained a .419 batting average for the Wildcats and leads the team with 55 runs scored. Emily Leep (Sr., C) also owns a .419 average and has provided Linfield with 53 runs, 11 doubles and 11 homers.

Karina Paavola (So., RHP) is the star of the Linfield pitching staff this season. She has an 18-1 record and a 1.52 ERA. She has registered 129 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings pitched. Lauren Harvey (Sr., RHP, also has been strong, with a 15-2 record, a 2.18 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 90 innings.

Pacific Lutheran University (34-10, 24-4 NWC)

Pacific Lutheran, which split its four-game series with Linfield during the regular season. Has been led by the pitching tandem of Stacey Hagensen (Sr., RHP) and Kaaren Hatlen (Jr., LHP). Both have made significant contributions in the circle and at the plate.

Hagensen's solid pitching has resulted in a 1.22 ERA and an 18-5 record. She has earned 97 strikeouts in 143 innings. On offense, she is batting .391 with 32 RBIs and  a team-high 45 runs scored. Hatlen is 12-2 as a pitcher and is batting .466 at the plate. She leads the Lutes in batting average and also ranks first with 12 doubles and nine home runs.

Montessa Califano (Jr. OF) is hitting .392 for PLU this season and has achieved eight doubles. Amanda Hall (Jr., 1B) has a .379 batting averaged and tops the Lutes with 33 RBIs.

George Fox University (20-20, 15-13 NWC)

George Fox has three players with averages above the .300-mark. Jenny Milton (Fr., 2B) is batting a team-high .341 with 21 runs and 17 RBIs. Felicia Chavez (So., OF) follows with a .338 average, nine doubles, 23 runs and 23 RBIs. Kris Trindle is hitting .304 and leads the Bruins with 25 runs scored.

Erin Hento (So., RHP) is GFU's top pitcher. She is 7-8 this season with a 3.57 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings. Allyss DenDekker (So., RHP) has gained a 7-5 record to go with a 2.84 ERA. She has produced 26 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched.

TOURNAMENT WEBSITE

2012 NWC Softball Tournament
At Del Smith Stadium
McMinnville, Ore.
April 21-22

Suzannah Von Trapp is batting .365 this season for the Bearcats.

Suzannah Von Trapp is batting .365 this season for the Bearcats.

Alex Watilo has achieved a 13-5 record and a 1.79 ERA this season. She has earned 77 strikeouts.

Alex Watilo has achieved a 13-5 record and a 1.79 ERA this season. She has earned 77 strikeouts.