McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield College defeated Whitworth 5-1 to claim the Northwest Conference softball tournament championship on Sunday afternoon, earning the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
And now the Pirates (31-11) must wait two weeks for the announcement of the NCAA tournament field, hoping for an at-large bid.
Linfield (35-6-1) grabbed an early lead by scoring a run in each of the first three innings. Darian Stedman doubled home the first-inning run, while Makenna Clizer hit a solo home run in the second. Abi Proffit added an RBI single in the third for a 3-0 lead.
Katie Phillips hit a home run in the fifth for a 4-0 lead.
Delayna Waite got the Pirates on the board with a pinch hit home run in the sixth. However the Wildcats added an insurance run in the sixth on Phillips' sacrifice fly.
As she has all season, Linfield pitcher Shelby Saylors made life difficult for Whitworth hitters. Saylors (20-4) scattered five hits and struck out six Pirates to claim her 20th win of the season. Phillips led the Wildcats at the plate, going 2-3 with two RBIs.
Drea Schwaier-Wolf (19-4) pitched for Whitworth and threw all six innings. She allowed four earned runs on ten hits.