Catball’s season comes to a close after sweep

Joe Stuart, Staff Writer

After a late-season resurgence that carried them through the first half of the playoffs, the Wildcat softball team’s season ended this weekend, losing to the University of Texas-Tyler on May 21.

The best of three series ended in Linfield getting swept by the UT-Tyler Patriots, who won the first two of the potential three games in the NCAA Super-Regionals.

Game one was one that was uncharacteristic of the Wildcats season, losing 9-1, with the game being called after the fifth inning on account of the NCAA’s “mercy rule.”

The mercy rule loss was the first time that the Wildcats had been on the losing side of the rule all season, and the first time it has happened in the postseason in program history.

Linfield’s lone run of the game came in the first inning, when Melanie Oord, ’18, singled to center field to score Alissa Buss, ’17, from second. The ’Cats would only muster three more hits through the game, with pitcher Kelsey Batten and the Patriots’ defense on their top game.

After scoring a run in the first inning, UT-Tyler would hammer Wildcat ace Shelby Saylors, ’19, for three runs in the second, and then three more in the fourth to go up 7-1 headed to the fifth.

Saylors was replaced by Maddy Dunn, ’16, with two outs in the fourth. Dunn allowed two runs in the fifth, causing the eight-run differential and forcing mercy rule for the 9-1 final.

Game two on Saturday had Saylors and Batten both on the hill for the respective clubs again, and both would pitch complete games, with UT-Tyler winning 2-0.

The only two runs of the game came in the first inning when the Patriots scored off a base hit that led to an error.

Saylors only allowed six hits while walking two and striking out two to go with the one earned run through her seven innings, but the offense would never show up for the Wildcats in game two.

Only Oord, Kenzie Schmoll, ’17, JacindaSwiger, ’19, and Buss, who had three hits in the game, reached base. No Linfield batter would make it past second base.

This was the fourth time that UT-Tyler has eliminated the Wildcats from the playoffs.

The future is bright for the Wildcat softball program, with only three seniors graduating, Kristen Vroom, Jen Hiatt, and Dunn.

Linfield finished the season with a final record of 32-16, their 18th consecutive winning season since joining the NCAA in 1999.