Four NCAA Div. III championships
PELLA (IOWA)-Top-ranked Linfield College (Ore.) continued its systematic demolition of the NCAA Division III Pella Regional, thumping Coe College 10-0 in five innings in a winners bracket game Sunday at Kuyper Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (44-2) won for the 33rd consecutive time and moved into the driver’s seat of the eight-team double-elimination tournament hosted by Central College.
Coe (38-9), ranked seventh in the most recent NFCA Top 25 poll, lost for the first time in the tournament and now must fight its way through the losers bracket with hopes of meeting Linfield again on Monday.
The Wildcats, 3-0 in the regional tournament, have outscored opponents 37-0.
Two teams remain alive – Coe and host Central – and those two will meet in an elimination game early Monday. The winner must beat the Wildcats twice consecutively to claim the regional championship. Linfield plays at noon, needing only one win to claim its fourth regional title in program history.
Coe’s all-star pitcher, Ashlee Simon, lasted only two innings against the Linfield bats. She surrendered eight hits, three walks and eight earned runs without recording a single strikeout. Simon, one of the hottest pitchers in the nation this spring, fell to 27-3.
Wildcats All-American Staci Doucette went 2-for-2 with a home run and four RBI, Emilee Lepp was 2-for-3, and Karleigh Prestianni blasted her 10th home run of the season as the Wildcats piled up a dozen hits.
Claire Velaski pitched her third victory of the tournament, striking out three Kohawks and scattering three hits over four innings. Freshman pitcher Karine Paavola came in to wrap up the victory in the fifth, fanning two of the three batters she faced.
Linfield plated four runs in both the first and second innings.