Linfield softball heads to NCAA Super Regionals

Kaelia Neal, Staff Writer

After traveling 1,800 miles to Decorah, Iowa, to win the NCAA Division III Regionals, the Linfield softball team has had just enough time to do some laundry, check in with their professors and get one more practice in before heading back to Iowa to play in the Super Regionals.

The team will play Central College on May 15 and 16 in Pella, just 180 miles away from the site of their victory over Luther College in Decorah.

After advancing to the regionals, the team lost the first game 2-1 to St. Thomas University May 8 in Decorah, Iowa.

Because the ’Cats ended up in the loser’s bracket, the team had to win the next four games in order to advance to the Division III Super Regionals.

First baseman Danielle Duman, a sophomore from Eugene, Ore., said, “Our mindset was, ‘We’ve been doing this all season. Let’s keep doing what we do.’”

The ’Cats did just that.

The women defeated St. Scholastica College 6-4 and St. Thomas 6-0 on May 9. The ’Cats then beat Luther 8-0 in five innings on May 10.

In a controversial call in the final game against Luther, designated player Lisa Yamamoto, a senior from Carson City, Nevada, scored a home run for the ’Cats.

Excited for their teammate, the women ran out to celebrate like they always do.

“People were excited, emotions were flying high,” Duman said.

But Luther’s coach thought Linfield team members might have touched Yamamoto before she reached the home plate, which could disqualify the run.

After a five-minute discussion, officials decided to give Linfield a warning and the run was allowed to stand.

“They never told us or confirmed that we touched her for sure. They just gave us the warning,” Duman said.

“The next time we made sure we waited” to run out and celebrate, she said.

And it didn’t take long. Duman herself smacked a two-run homer to center field in the top of the fourth inning and the team waited to celebrate.

And except for two innings in which Luther threatened, the game was in the bag.

The final score was 4-2, bringing Linfield’s season record to 35-13.

Duman said the team was extremely excited. “It’s a chance to spend more time together and continue playing the game that we love.”

In order to advance to nationals, the ’Cats need to win two out of three games against Central.

“As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, I think we’re in great shape,” Duman said.

“It’s anybody’s game,” she said. “Let’s play the Catball way.”