Baseball finishes second in the NWC

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, Sports

By Louis Knox
Staff Writer

Willamette finished second in the Northwest Conference Tournament. The team finished the season with a 28-14 overall record, which is better than expected, considering they were selected to finish sixth in the league in the beginning of the season.

The Bearcats went into the conference tournament holding the second seed overall. In the first game of the tournament, the Bearcats took on the Pacific Lutheran Lutes. The Lutes had control of the game for most of the day until four runs in the seventh inning were struck by the bats of junior Perry Van Eckhardt, junior Eric del Prado and sophomore Connor Bailey. This gave the Bearcats enough cushion to hold off the Lutes giving Willamette a win 6-5.

In the second game of the tournament, the Bearcats took on the Whitworth Pirates. This contest was defined by the offensive output of both teams. The Bearcats had two different five-run innings. The star of the game was del Prado, who hit a grand slam and totalled seven RBIs.

The high scoring affair would conclude with a score of 13-8 in favor of the Bearcats. Van Eckhardt hit the team high seventh home run. Junior reliever pitcher Jett Gallagher recorded a three inning save and just surrendered two hits.

The Bearcats then took on the Linfield Wildcats for the Conference Championship game. To start the game off, the Wildcats came out firing, scoring sixruns in the first four innings. This set the tone for the game. The only bright side came from the bat of Bailey, who hit a two run homerun in the sixth inning.

The Wildcats responded and put together a run, making the score seven to two. This would be the way that the game would finish, forcing a second game for the Conference Championship.

In the second game, the Wildcats started where they left off. They put together four runs in the first three innings of the contest. The Bearcats scored two runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings. This would tie the game at four runs.

The game remained tied until the eighth inning where the Wildcats were able to put together a two-run inning. The scores came from two walks with the bases loaded. This would result in the final score of 6-4 and a Conference Championship for the Linfield Wildcats.

On the bright side, the Bearcats had an extremely successful season. The team has no current seniors, so everyone will be returning. The Bearcats have built a strong core of players with leadership coming from players like del Prado, junior Mason Fessler and Van Eckhardt. There are big things to come from Bearcat baseball in the near future.

 

lknox@willamette.edu

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