Linfield baseball, softball players earn NWC honors
Courtesy of Linfield sports information
Sweeping through the major postseason awards in the same dominating fashion as it rolled through the league calendar, conference champion Linfield put 12 on the All-Northwest Conference Baseball Team, including NWC Player of the Year Nick Fisher and NWC Pitcher of the Year Aaron Thomassen.
Fisher and Thomassen became the first two players from the same program to sweep the major awards since Linfield's Kelson Brown (player) and Ryan Larson (pitcher) achieved the feat during the 2010 season. Head coach Scott Brosius was chosen as the NWC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season in a vote of the league's coaches.
Fisher led the team offensively through the NWC season, hitting .375 with 36 hits – including 15 for extra bases – and 25 RBIs. Among league leaders, he finished in the top 10 in 15 offensive categories, including first in runs (24), total bases (63) and stolen bases (9). He also ranked in the top three in all offensive percentages: first in slugging (.656), second in batting (.375) and third in on-base (446). Fisher was one of just two Wildcats to hit a triple – two, to be exact – and hit one of his five home runs as a grand slam.
A first team all-Northwest Conference and second team all-West Region selection in 2013, Fisher was twice recognized as the NWC Position Player Student-Athlete of the Week and twice named to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week.
After a phenomenal but perhaps overlooked season in 2013, Thomassen got his due in 2014. The junior right-hander posted a perfect 7-0 record and league-best 1.15 ERA against conference opponents. He totaled 42 strikeouts against just five walks in 55.0 pitched over eight appearances. Thomassen hurled his first career shutout in 2014, surrendering just four hits while racking up six strikeouts against Whitman's lineup. In eight conference games, he limited opposing hitters to five extra-base hits and a paltry .193 average.
Thomassen was a first team all-Northwest Conference and second team all-West Region pick in 2013. In the postseason, he named to the regional tournament team and threw his first complete game in the NCAA Finals.
Juniors Corey VanDomelen and Chris Haddeland also repeated as first team honorees.
VanDomelen, Linfield's leadoff hitter and starting shortstop, posted a .320 batting average on 31 hits, including six doubles. He drew a team-high 14 walks as part of a .421 on-base percentage, and went 4-for-5 on stolen base attempts. Among Northwest Conference leaders, he finished in the top 10 in five offensive categories, including plate appearances (118), at-bats (97), runs (21), walks and on-base percentage. VanDomelen also registered a career-high .959 fielding percentage, 29 points higher than last season, in 122 chances.
Haddeland pitched five complete games and a conference-leading 64.0 innings en route to a 6-1 record against league opponents. He hurled three shutouts, including a one-hitter, and registered a team-high 44 strikeouts in eight appearances. Linfield's Game 1 starter allowed just five extra base hits out of 47 total and held opponents to a .201 average. In addition to leading the Northwest Conference in innings pitched, complete games and shutouts, Haddeland also posted the league's third lowest ERA (1.41).
Four Wildcats – seniors Clayton Truex, Jake Wylie, Kramer Lindell and Zach Brandon – claimed second team honors, including two infielders, one outfielder and a pitcher.
Senior Zach Manley, junior Jo Carroll and sophomores Eric Lawson and Cody Walker earned honorable mention consideration.
Linfield softball players recognized
Nine Linfield College softball players have been appointed to the 2014 Northwest Conference all-star team following a vote of the league's eight coaches.
In recognition of an outstanding regular season that saw the Wildcats capture the program's 11th straight conference championship and claim the NWC Tournament title, Linfield placed four players on the all-NWC first team.
Three Linfield seniors received spots on the first team, headlined by NWC Pitcher of the Year Karina Paavola. Joining Paavola are senior infielders Ashley Garcia and Katy Brosig and junior outfielder Grace Middelstadt.
A repeat selection as Pitcher of the Year, Paavola dominated NWC statistics and rewrote portions of the Linfield record book in the process.
The senior righthander piled up 19 victories and 165 strikeouts, leading the NWC in both categories. She also engineered a league-best five shutouts while helping Linfield achieve a 34-8 overall record. Her 1.14 earned run average also led the conference.
Owing to her consistent success rate, Paavola became the career wins leader at Linfield with 73 wins. She also became just the second player in Wildcats history to surpass 500 strikeouts.
Garcia led the NWC in runs batted in with 48. Her 52 hits ranked third and her .416 batting average was sixth-highest in the conference. A three-year starter, Garcia received her third first team all-NWC citation.
Brosig led the NWC with 15 doubles, 81 total bases, and a .648 on-base percentage. She ranked second among NWC players in hits (55), walks (20) and batting average (.440). Her 32 RBI was second-most on the team behind Garcia and ranked eighth in the NWC.
As Linfield's leadoff hitter, Middelstadt enjoyed her finest season. She led the NWC in runs scored (41) and was third in stolen bases (23) and triples (2).
Receiving second team all-NWC consideration were infielder Lisa Yamamoto, outfielder Erin Carson, catcher McKenna Spieth, pitcher Shelby VandeBergh and utility player Erin Kinney.
Wildcats coach Jackson Vaughanearned his 10th NWC Coach of the Year award in 11 seasons. Vaughan, a 1998 Linfield graduate, raised his career coaching record to 484-109-1.