Catball set to take on Pirates in NCAA Regionals

Joe Stuart, Staff Writer

Wildcat softball has not played a game in three weeks, since they claimed their 11th straight Northwest Conference title, but are more ready than ever to step on the field today for the first round of NCAA Regional tournament.

“Since we haven’t played in three weeks, our energy is better than ever,” said sophomore outfielder Melanie Oord.

This will be Linfield’s 13th appearance in the NCAA tournament, with an all-time tourney record of 60-25.

The Wildcats finished the season with a 29-13 record, and are ranked 22nd in the country. They are the number two seed in the regional tourney, and will play their first game against the Whitworth University Pirates, who are hosting the regional tournament.

Linfield defeated Whitworth in the second round of the NWC tournament three weeks ago, 7-6. The two teams split their season series two games apiece, but both of Linfield’s wins came off of five-inning mercy rule victories.

“At the end of the day it’s another game against a good opponent and it’s up to us to play our game and come out strong with lots of energy from the very first pitch,” said senior Danielle Duman.

Whitworth finished the year as the conference regular season champion, finishing with a 20-8 record. This year will be Whitworth’s second appearance ever, their only other appearance coming in 2006.

“To start the tournament playing Whitworth on their home field is a challenge, but the challenge fuels our fire,” said Oord.

The other two teams in the regional tournament are number one seed Claremont Mudd-Scripps (34-8-1), and George Fox University Bruins (30-14). The Bruins are in their first ever appearance in the NCAA tourney.

Linfield defeated George Fox in the NWC championship game, dominating 12-2.

The ’Cats and the Pirates open the tourney with the first game of the day today at 1 o’clock.

“We want to compete and fight to win every pitch and every inning every game throughout the tournament,” said Duman. “To do this we will need to come out strong from the very beginning with lots of energy and a sense of urgency. As one.”