After winning the opening game of the NWC Tournament on Friday at Marks Field, Mother Nature had some different plans for Whitworth Softball as the Bucs fell to Linfield in the semifinal game. The Pirates opened up a commanding 6-1 lead through four innings over the Wildcats before lightning struck for Linfield--both literally and physically.
With a four-run top of the fifth, Linfield had pulled within one as thunder and lightning storms became scattered throughout the Inland Northwest, temporarily stopping play. The lightning ceased and the game resumed around 10 am pacific standard time.
The delay worked in Linfield’s favor, as they scored two in the top of the seventh to take a one-run lead. With a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly, Linfield brought in the crucial runs, advancing to the championship game.
With the loss, Whitworth would face George Fox, the winner of the loser’s bracket game in which Pacific (Or.) was eliminated from the tournament.
The game was hard fought, with both pitchers turning in valiant efforts. In the end, George Fox prevailed behind the arm of sophomore Madison Sorenson, who threw a complete-game shutout, allowing only four hits and five baserunners.
Whitworth junior Makayla Lefever started every game for the Bucs in the NWC Tourney. The loss on Saturday morning was only her fourth of 2016, in which she compiled 19 wins and a 1.98 ERA over 148.1 innings of work.
Though the season may not have ended in the way the Pirates wanted, it was a fantastic year and an exciting weekend for the Whitworth Softball program. The first two seniors recruited by head coach Cristal Brown--catcher Megan John and outfielder Alyssa Hall--will be graduating this May. According to Brown, the two have done a wonderful job of instilling the Whitworth Softball culture for years to come. With the epic arm of Makayla Lefever and two straight regular season NWC championships, 2017 is sure to bring riches for Brown and the Pirates.