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NWC TOURNAMENT: Bruins Ousted by Pair of ‘Cats in Long-Awaited Post-Season Play
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – In their first post-season appearance in 18 years, the George Fox University Bruins fell 3-0 to the No. 1-ranked Linfield College Wildcats in the first game of the Northwest Conference Softball Tournament, then were ousted by the Willamette University Bearcats 5-1 in an elimination game later Friday here at Del Smith Stadium.
The Bruins saw their season come to a close with a 20-22 record after finishing fourth in the NWC with a 15-13 conference mark. It was their best record since going 16-14-2 in 2001, and their 20 wins fell one short of the team record for wins (the 1994 team went 21-8 and won both the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges and NAIA District 2 titles in their last post-season appearance until this year).
Game 1 - at Linfield 3, George Fox 0
The Wildcats’ Lauren Harvey (16-2) held the Bruins without a hit for 5.2 innings and wound up with a two-hit shutout, out-dueling George Fox’s Allyssa DenDekker (7-6).
Linfield missed a chance to score in the 1st when Katy Brosig was caught rounded third too far on a hit by Karleigh Prestianni to end the inning, but pushed across a run in the bottom of the 3rd. With two out, Emilee Lepp singled, stole second, and scored on Staci Doucette’s single up the middle.
The Wildcats got two big insurance runs in the 5th. Jaydee Baxter drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a sacrifice and a fly out, and scored on Doucette’s s ground single to left. Prestianni’s double to right-center scored Doucette and knocked out DenDekker in favor of Erin Hento.
Harvey, meanwhile, had a perfect game through 4.1 innings before Kerrianne Davidson became the Bruins’ first base runner when she reached on an error at short. She kept her no-hitter until Jenny Milton broke it up with a single up the middle with two out in the 6th. McKenzie Beeson followed with a pinch-single, bringing the tying run to the plate, but Harvey escaped the danger by fanning Felicia Chavez, then working a 1-2-3 7th.
Harvey finished with seven strikeouts and no walks. DenDekker was touched for all seven Linfield hits while striking out one with two walks. Hento retired all four hitters she faced with one strikeout. Doucette and Prestianni were the only players with two hits.
Game 2 - Willamette 5, George Fox 1
Willamette, which was knocked into the losers’ bracket 3-1 by Pacific Lutheran University in the second game of the tournament, stayed alive as Alex Watilo (14-6) and Hayley Glantz stymied the Bruins on only five hits, while the Bearcat offense picked up nine safeties off George Fox hurlers DenDekker (7-7) and Hento.
Willamette got going with two 1st-inning runs. Jesica Barry walked with one out, Heather Winslow tripled her in, and Kelli Snyder delivered a two-out run-scoring single.
The Bearcats picked up two more in the 4th, knocked Den Dekker from the game. Snyder led off with a single, and pinch runner Carolyn Cava advanced on a ground out and a Susie Krewer single. Hento took the mound, and Jenna King, running for Krewer, stole second and went to third on a throwing error while Cava scored. King scored on Nichole Robertson’s bunt single. Their final run came in the 6th as Mica Romero scored on a double steal with Krewer.
George Fox, which had only two hits off Watilo in five innings, got its lone run off Glantz in the 7th. Davidson and Beeson singled, and Davidson went to third on a bad throw to second by the catcher on a pickoff attempt. Mckynna Towery’s single up the middle scored Davidson, but Glantz got the next three hitters in order to end the game.
Winslow and Snyder were the only players with two hits in the game.
Willamette (21-14) will play Linfield (36-4) in an elimination game Sunday at 11:00 a.m., with the winner having to defeat Pacific Lutheran twice. No. 5-ranked PLU upset the Wildcats 3-1 in Saturday’s final game.