Whitworth Softball Advances In NWC Tournament - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth Softball Advances In NWC Tournament

Peyton McMahon hits her game-winning inside-the-park home run to keep the Bucs season alive. (Photo: Whitworth) Peyton McMahon hits her game-winning inside-the-park home run to keep the Bucs season alive. (Photo: Whitworth)

by Whitworth Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. – Bouncing back from a 3-2 loss to Linfield in the opening game, top-seeded Whitworth survived to Saturday by winning an elimination game 2-1 over Pacific on Peyton McMahon's 8th-inning inside-the-park home run in the 2015 Northwest Conference Softball Tournament on Friday at Diana Marks Field.

The Pirates are now 31-11 this season, setting a new school record for number of victories in one season.

Whitworth will play George Fox in an elimination game at 9:00 am on Saturday morning.

First Round – Linfield 3, Whitworth 2

The fourth-seeded Wildcats made three early runs stand up and took the opener of the tournament by knocking off the top-seeded Pirates.

Linfield got two runs in the second inning off of Whitworth reliever Makayla Lefever. McKenna Spieth tripled home Danielle Duman with one out. Spieth then scored on Grace Middelstadt's single up the middle.

Whitworth got a run back with a two-out rally in the third. Alyssa Hall got the Pirates' first hit of the game with a bunt single. Chelsey Hayes then singled to left and the ball got by the outfielder and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Hall to score from first base.

The Wildcats' third run came off of Madi Perez, who came on in relief in the fourth inning. Middelstadt got her second RBI of the game with an almost identical RBI single up the middle that drove in pinch runner Jessica Woodruff.

The Pirates loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth against Linfield pitcher Montana McNealy. Megan John scored on a fielder's choice. McNealy then got a fly out and a ground out to end the threat.

Whitworth got a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh, but John was called out on strikes to end the game.

Linfield went on to defeat George Fox 4-2 in the winners' bracket game on Friday evening, advancing to the tournament championship round.

Loser-Out Game – Whitworth 2, Pacific 1

McMahon's drive culminated a stellar pitchers' duel between Lefever and Pacific starting pitcher Marissa Reichard.

Each team scored in the first inning. Rachel Roberts, who finished the day 7-8 at the plate, led off the game with a single and scored on Kylee Oshiro's two-out double to left field.

Chelsey Hayes led off with a double to left field for Whitworth in the bottom of the first and she scored on Shannon Wessel's infield single.

Then Reichard and Lefever traded zeros for the next six innings. Both teams had a chance to score in the fifth frame. Roberts tripled to right field with one out in the top of the sixth, but died at third when Lefever got the next two batters to hit harmless fly outs. Hall reached third with two outs in the fifth for Whitworth, but Reichard got Wessel to ground out.

McMahon's game-winning drive came with two out in the bottom of the eighth. Her ball hit the base of the wall in left center and centerfielder Jordan Schmerbauch collided with the wall, allowing McMahon to motor all the way around the bases for her seventh home run of the season.

Lefever improved to 17-4 by allowing only one run on seven hits. She struck out two and walked one. Reichard dropped to 14-7 after she allowed two runs on five hits in 7.2 innings. She struck out five and walked one batter.

Pacific is now 29-15 and must hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament in May.

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