Willamette Falls to Linfield and Whitworth at NWC Softball Tournament

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Willamette University held a 3-2 lead on #6-ranked Linfield College in the top of the third inning during their Northwest Conference Softball Tournament first round game on Friday, April 18, but the Wildcats scored five runs in the bottom of the inning and went on to defeat the Bearcats, 14-3 on the run rule in five innings.

Later, in an elimination game, Whitworth University scored five runs in the first inning for a 5-1 lead on the Bearcats. Willamette cut the margin to 5-2 in the third inning, but was unable to complete the rally, as the Pirates won 6-2.

The pair of losses ended the season for the Bearcats, who qualified for the four-team NWC Tournament despite having no seniors on their roster. Willamette's young squad finished the year with an 18-22 overall record. The Bearcats will look to return to the NWC Tournament next season.

Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS) of Willamette went 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI against Linfield. She was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI versus Whitworth. Pender finished the day 4 for 5 at the plate.

Both teams scored twice in the first inning of the first game.

Heather Winslow (Jr., 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS), batting first for Willamette, was hit by a pitch, and went to second on a passed ball. Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS) reached base on an error at shortstop, as Winslow advanced to third. Pender doubled, driving in Winslow.

Linfield starting pitcher Karina Paavola recorded the first out on a strikeout. A bit later, a passed ball allowed King to score, while Pender went to third. Two more strikeouts by Paavola ended the threat.

With one out in the bottom of the inning, the Wildcats received a single from Erin Carson. Katie Brosig followed with a home run to tie the game at 2-2.

Neither team scored during the second stanza, but WU moved in front in the top of the third. An error by second baseman Kenzie Schmoll allowed Winslow on first. Another error, this time at shortstop, put King at first base. Pender walked to load the bases. Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) also walked, forcing in Winslow for a 3-2 lead.

Paavola escaped the inning without further damage with a strikeout, an out at the plate on a fielder's choice, and a second strikeout. The Bearcats left three runners on base.

Brosig doubled and Ashley Garcia hit an RBI single to tie the game with one out in the bottom of the third. Erin Kinney also doubled to send Garcia across the plate. The Wildcats tallied three more runs during the inning, including the last two on a home run by Haylie Watson for a 7-3 lead.

The Bearcats were unable to recover, as Linfield added seven runs on four hits and an error in the fourth. Paavola gave up singles to Pender and Absher in the fifth, but recorded the victory to improve to 18-3. WU starter Jade Smith (Fr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS) who pitched 2 2/3 innings, fell to 12-7.

Willamette scored a run in the first inning of the second game, but Whitworth's 5-run outburst in the bottom of the stanza put the Pirates in control. Pender scored Willamette's early run after hitting a single with two outs. She scored when Absher doubled to left center.

For Whitworth, Brittany Connor reached base on an error. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alyssa Hall. The next five batters registered hits, including RBI singles by Taylor Gilbert and Peyton McMahon, plus an RBI double by Shannon Wessel and a 2-RBI double by Kayla Batastini.

In the third inning, Willamette reduced the lead to 5-2. Winslow doubled to left center with one out, moved to third on a grounder by King, and scored on a single by Pender.

The Bearcats earned one hit in the fourth inning, two more in the fifth and one in the sixth, but couldn't produce additional runs. Winslow belted one of the hits in the fifth inning for her second double of the game.

Whitworth added an insurance run on a walk and two singles in the sixth. The Pirates finished the game with a 14-8 advantage in hits. Madi Perez pitched all seven innings and improved to 15-6 with the win. McMahon finished 4 for 4 with a run, a stolen base and an RBI. Batastini went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

For Willamette, Winslow was 2 for 4 with a run scored. She finished the season as the Bearcats' top hitter with a .420 batting average and a team-high 39 runs. She tied Pender for the team lead with 12 doubles.


2014 NWC Softball Tournament
At McMinnville, Ore.

Linfield College 14
Willamette University 3
Run Rule, 5 innings

Whitworth University 6
Willamette University 2

Ashley Pender of Willamette went 2 for 2 against Linfield and was 2 for 3 against Whitworth.

Ashley Pender of Willamette went 2 for 2 against Linfield and was 2 for 3 against Whitworth.