Linfield softball ranked 11th in first poll

The Linfield University softball team is off to a strong 8-2 start, and the ‘Cats are ranked 11th in the first National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll of the season.

This weekend, the Wildcats are in Elizabethtown, Ky. for the Pioneer Classic, where they will play six games, three against nationally ranked opponents.

The ‘Cats will face third-ranked Trine, 2022’s national runner-up, 13th-ranked Transylvania and 25th-ranked Washington-St. Louis.

It’s the first matchup with Washington-St. Louis since the 2007 national championship, where Linfield took games two and three to win its first D-III championship.

This season, Tayah Kelley has cemented herself as Linfield’s ace, as she has posted a 1.27 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .199 batting average on her way to a 6-0 mark.

Now in her fourth season, Kelley has steadily progressed throughout her career, trimming her ERA from 5.00 to 3.43 in 2021 and posting a 1.78 ERA in 2022.

Offensively, six ‘Cats have already tallied 10 or more hits. Kaili Saathoff leads the way with 17, and she also leads the team in runs batted in with 11. Claire Seats has produced the most power, posting a slugging percentage of .600. Of her 13 hits, six have been for extra bases (five doubles and one home run).

Linfield’s first game began at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 17, against Calvin, and they’ll round out today against Transylvania at noon. The ‘Cats will take on Trine and Hanover tomorrow before finishing the weekend against Washington-St. Louis and Anderson on Sunday.

The Wildcats return to Northwest Conference play next Friday, March 24 with a four-game set in Salem against Willamette.


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