Pirates Win NWC Softball Opener

Photo courtesy Kelly Bird, Linfield SID
Photo courtesy Kelly Bird, Linfield SID

SPOKANE, Wash. – Madi Perez tossed a five-hit shutout to lead top-seeded Whitworth to a 2-0 win over fourth-seeded George Fox in the opening game of the 2017 Northwest Conference softball tournament on Friday afternoon at Diana Marks Field.

The Pirates improved to 33-8, setting a school record for victories in a season, and advanced to the winner's bracket game on Saturday against Pacific Lutheran.  The Bruins fell to 19-16 and will play Linfield in a loser-out game tomorrow at noon.

The Pirates loaded the bases with no one out in the fourth inning against GFU starting pitcher Madison Sorenson.  Sorenson got Perez to ground into a fielder's choice with Shannon Wessel, who had doubled to lead off the inning, getting forced out at home.  But the Bruins were unable to get another force on a Rheanne Lewis ground ball, allowing Michelle Silva to score the first run.  Kelsey Downey's pinch hit ground out to first base drove in Tessa Matthews with the second run.

That was all that Perez would need to toss her third shutout against George Fox this season.  The Bruins had the bases loaded with only one out in the top of the sixth against Perez, but she got Roni Braun and Alex Parker to both pop out to center field to end the threat.

Perez improved to 21-3 after striking out two batters and walking one.  Sorenson fell to 12-8 this season despite allowing only four hits in the game.

Game 2 – PLU 6, Linfield 0
Ellie Rassbach tossed a three-hit shutout to lead the Lutes to an upset of the 22nd-ranked Wildcats in the second game of the NWC softball tournament.

Third-seeded PLU improved to 21-14 and advances to play Whitworth in a winner's bracket game.  The second-seeded Wildcats (32-9) will face George Fox in a loser-out game.

Rassbach scattered three singles and allowed a runner to reach second base only in the fourth and the sixth innings.  She struck out three and walked one to improve to 11-6.

Leadoff hitter Emily McConnell led PLU at the plate.  She finished 3-5 with four RBIs in the game.

Shelby Saylors started in the circle for Linfield and fell to 16-5 after allowing five runs on nine hits in three innings.  Tanna Benson threw the final four innings for the Wildcats.