By News-Register wire services • News-Register wire services • 

Wildcats win 20th, 21st games during Texas tour

Courtesy of Linfield sports information

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Seniors Karina Paavola and Shelby VandeBergh pitched matching shutouts, Erin Kinney pounded three doubles, and the Linfield Wildcats notched their 19th straight season of 20 or more wins by handcuffing the Trinity Tigers twice Tuesday afternoon at Trinity Softball Field. The 10th-ranked Wildcats (21-5) won the opener 4-0, then threaded together three big innings to bolt past the reeling Tigers 14-0 in the nightcap, shortened to five innings by the eight run rule. Trinity (11-8) managed three hits while surrendering 25. The Tigers also committed six errors, four in the second game.

In the first game, Paavola pitched a one-hit gem, striking out six Tigers while issuing just one walk. The senior All-American improved to 13-2 for the season, rebounding from a pair of one-run defeats Monday at Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The game began as a scoreless pitchers' duel pitting Paavola against Trinity ace Kaci Wellik. Kinney, a freshman, finally broke the stalemate in the fourth inning, drilling a double deep to left-center field that scored Ashley Garcia from first base. Haylie Watson turned a full-count pitch into a bloop single shortly thereafter, providing enough time for Kinney to score from second base and the Wildcats led 2-0 at the game's midway point.

The score remained 2-0 until the seventh.Grace Middelstadt reached base on an error, then stole second base. Erin Carson was hit by a Wellik pitch, putting two runners aboard with one out. Brosig stepped to the plate and drilled a double through the left side of the infield, scoring Middelstadt. Then Garcia lofted a sacrifice fly to right field that opened the door for Carson to add another insurance run. Brosig picked up two of Linfield's seven hits and logged a stolen base. Middlestadt stole two bases while slapping a base hit and scoring one run.

Linfield ran roughshod on Trinity in the nightcap, combining stellar pitching from VandeBergh and Montana McNealy with a season-high 18 hits.

A two-run double by Alissa Buss off the pitch of Tigers starter Katie Castillon sparked the initial scoring flurry in the second inning. Buss later scored from third base on a throwing error to make the score 3-0. A single by Carson moments later plated Middelstadt, putting the Wildcats firmly in control. Linfield began the third inning with four straight hits, including a RBI double by Kinney and a two-run triple by Yamamoto that pushed home three more runs.

The floodgates opened fully in the fifth. Jen Tautfest, Brosig, Garcia and Erin Tauscher all smacked RBI singles in the inning as the ‘Cats amassed up seven runs on six hits and three errors. Kinney went 3-for-3 with a double, Carson was 3-for-4, Middelstadt had two hits and scored twice, and Yamamoto and Buss both drove in two runs to pace Linfield.

The Wildcats’ game against Texas Lutheran, scheduled for Wednesday in Seguin, Texas, was canceled due to rain.

Linfield returns from its Texas tour and heads to Tacoma, Wash., Saturday for a road game against Puget Sound at noon.


Mary Hardin-Baylor knocks ‘Cats down

BELTON, Texas – Matching a streaky Mary Hardin-Baylor team hit-for-hit in the heart of Texas, the Linfield Wildcats could not produce the timely hits they needed and instead lost a pair of one-run contests to the Crusaders, 1-0 and 2-1, Monday afternoon at Dee Dillon Field.

In the midst of a six-city, 12-game barnstorming tour of the Lone Star State, the 10th-ranked Wildcats lost for the third straight time. Linfield (19-5) arrived in Texas with just two defeats. Wildcats ace Karina Paavola was saddled with both losses, watching in horror as her unblemished record went up in smoke despite pitching an eight-strikeout, two-hitter in Game 1.

Paavola (12-2) relieved Wildcats starter Shelby VandeBergh after five innings in Game 2, but gave up the clinching single in the sixth inning.

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