by Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor
For the third straight season, the Northwest Conference champions will reside in Spokane.
Whitworth softball won the championship-deciding fourth game of a four-game series on Saturday afternoon to secure a split with the Linfield Wildcats, which was all the Bucs needed to win the title.
Whitworth won the second games of Friday and Saturday doubleheaders to split the series. The Bucs won 4-1 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday. Linfield defeated Whitworth 5-0 on Friday and 7-2 on Saturday.
In Saturday’s clincher, Whitworth’s offense jumped on the scoreboard early. Michelle Silva, ‘18, got the party started with a bases-loaded double in the first inning. She then scored on a sacrifice fly by Madi Perez, ‘17. In the second inning, Shannon Wessel, ‘17, plated two more Pirates on a single to center field.
“All I was thinking was ‘see the pitch come all the way in and hit it hard,’” Silva said. “I wanted to take advantage of any good pitch I got.”
The six runs would be all Perez needed. The senior tossed seven strong innings, allowing just three runs to the conference’s top offense. Perez scattered 10 hits, walked one batter and struck out another.
“I wasn’t nervous going into it,” Perez said.“I know my team can come through when they need to.”
For the weekend, Perez carried the Bucs in the circle. She started in all four games and limited a powerful offense enough for the Pirates to split. Perez threw complete games in both Whitworth wins this weekend.
“During the games I was running on adrenaline, so I wasn’t focused on my body,” Perez said. “I’m definitely tired now that I’ve gotten to sit down for a little, but with two days off and some ice I will be good to go.”
On the weekend, Silva drove in five runs in the Bucs pair of victories, including the three-RBI double which kicked off the Bucs title-clinching win today. Senior designated player Myranda Ramirez knocked in two runs with a double of her own in Friday’s 4-1 win.
The series split ensured the Bucs will host the Northwest Conference tournament for the third consecutive year. The tournament will take place April 21-23 at Diana Marks Field. Specific game times are TBD. Whitworth is still looking for their first tournament title.