Linfield eyes title after three-win day
Wildcats force a second national championship contest
To wrap-up its Monday outing, Linfield handed the tournament’s only unbeaten team, Christopher Newport, a 6-0 loss to force a second national championship contest at the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
Claire Velaski and Lauren Harvey combined for a four-hit shutout of the unranked Captains, who came into the game hitting .382 and averaging more than nine runs a game in the championship tournament.
Karleigh Prestianni drove in three runs, including her 13th homer of the season, while Emilee Lepp and Kayla Hubrich picked up two hits each for the Wildcats, who played for the national title in 2010 but fell 4-3 to eventual champion East Texas Baptist in the championship game. Linfield won its only NCAA crown in softball in 2007.
Prestianni broke the ice with a RBI single in the top of the third inning, scoring Emily Keagbine from second base. Keagbine had singled, then snuck to second when the Captains were caught napping on defense following her base hit.
Harvey earned the win in relief of Velaski to improve to 15-0. Velaski pitched the first two innings, striking out a pair of Captains and allowing two hits and a walk.
Tied 1-1, the Wildcats added a couple of runs in the fifth, then another in the sixth to go on top 4-0. Lepp singled and stole second to lead off the Linfield fifth. Staci Doucette drove in Lepp with a single to right field. Alex Hartmann later added a run-scoring double and the Wildcats led 3-0. In the sixth, Lepp doubled, scoring Jaydee Baxter from first base.
Prestianni provided some additional distance for the ‘Cats in the seventh, blasting a two-run homer over the left-field wall.
Whitney Haller went the distance in the circle for CNU, surrendering 12 hits, four walks against just one strikeout.