Linfield Rallies Past Bearcats in NWC Softball Tournament, 4-2

Willamette Concludes Season with 21-15 Record

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Linfield College rallied to defeat Willamette University, 4-2, in an elimination game at the 2012 Northwest Conference Softball Tournament on Sunday, April 22.

Willamette scored two runs in the first inning and led 2-1 after two stanzas, but Linfield moved in front on a 3-run homer by Katy Brosig in the bottom of the sixth. The Wildcats took a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning.

The Bearcats had runners at second and third with two outs in the seventh, but Linfield pitcher Karina Paavola registered a strikeout to end the game.

Linfield, ranked #1 in NCAA Division III, upped its record to 37-4. Willamette ended its season with a 21-15 overall record.

The Wildcats advanced to take on Pacific Lutheran University later on Sunday. Linfield defeated PLU, 3-2, in the next game, by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The win by the Wildcats forced another game to determine the tournament title. PLU won the second game, 3-0, as Stacey Hagensen tossed a 2-hitter.

In the first game of the day, WU created its early 2-0 advantage by using two hits and an error to plate two runs in the team's first at bat. Suzannah Von Trapp (Sr., DP/3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) opened the game with a walk. Jessica Barry (Jr., LF, Cupertino, CA/Monte Vista HS/UNLV) batted next and single, moving Von Trapp to second.

Heather Winslow (Fr., 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) reached first and second on an error by Bri Brewer at second base. Von Trapp scored on the play, while Barry advanced to third. Theresa Martin (Fr., 3B, Modesto, CA/Johansen HS) singled up the middle to drive in Barry. Winslow also attempted to score, but was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Jaydee Baxter. A groundout and a fly out ended the threat.

Linfield cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the second. With one out, Brosig pounded a double down the left field line. Haylie Watson also doubled, sending Brosig across the plate. Jordan Mixsell hit a foul ball that was caught by Martin at third base for the second out. Kate Hasty, who pinch-ran for Watson, was thrown out at second on a stolen base attempt.

Willamette had a chance to extend its lead in the top of the fifth, but left the bases loaded. Von Trapp started the stanza with a single. She went to third base when Barry hit into an error at shortstop. After Barry stole second, the Bearcats had two runners in scoring position with no outs.

A strikeout and a pop-up on the infield resulted in two outs before Kelli Snyder (Jr. C, Longview, WA/Kelso) walked. Mica Romero (Sr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian School) flied out to left field as Paavola escaped the inning without allowing a run.

The Linfield half of the sixth inning began with Emilee Lepp reaching base on an error by Winslow at first base. Baxter advanced Lepp to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Staci Doucette was hit by a pitch and gave way to pinch-runner Grace Middelstadt. One out later, with two outs in the inning, Brosig belted her 3-run homer.

Willamette threatened to rally in the top of the seventh. Barry reached base on an error, but Winslow flied out to center field and Martin popped up to shortstop. Snyder kept the inning alive with a single, and advanced to second on the play when the Wildcats tried to throw out Barry at third. Paavola struck out Romero to end the game.

Nichole Robertson (Sr., OF, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS/Cosumnes River Coll.) of Willamette went 2 for 3 at the plate. Five other Bearcats registered one hit apiece, as Willamette outhit Linfield, 7-4.

Brosig paced the Linfield offense by going 2 for 3 with a homer, a double, two runs and three RBIs. She scored or drove in all four runs for the Wildcats.

Paavola, who pitched the final five innings, improved to 19-2 on the season. Alex Watilo (Sr., RHP, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS), who threw a complete game for Willamette, fell to 14-7 with the loss.

Linfield College 4
Willamette University 2
Nichole Robertson earned two hits in three at bats for the Bearcats.

Nichole Robertson earned two hits in three at bats for the Bearcats.