By Allie Hamilton, Guest Reporter
The Pacific Lutheran softball team secured a spot in the May 11 regional tournament by taking down former conference champ Linfield last weekend.
The tournament featured the top four in the conference and was round-robin style with double eliminations. The Lutes played four games total, winning three.
PLU beat both Willamette and Linfield Saturday. George Fox lost twice and was eliminated.
Sunday morning, Linfield knocked Willamette out, leaving PLU and Linfield to battle it out for the title.
The historic rivalry between the two teams set the stakes high. Both are nationally ranked and cross paths frequently.
As the defending Division III national champion, Linfield is ranked first in the nation.
PLU finished second in conference last year, but did not receive a bid to play in the postseason.
The contenders faced up twice Sunday. In the first game, PLU had control for most of the game until the last inning. PLU was ahead 2-0 with two outs when Linfield hit a homerun, bringing in three runs. The final score was 3-2 in favor of Linfield.
At that point, each team had lost once, leaving the decision to the last game.
PLU came out strong in Sunday’s second match up.
“We got two runs right away in the first inning, which gave me confidence to go out and pitch,” pitcher senior Stacey Hagensen said.
Hagensen pitched well, allowing Linfield only two hits and no runs.
“The seventh inning seemed like it lasted forever,” Hagensen said. “You could tell that everyone was like ‘Oh my gosh we’re gonna do it!’”
PLU won 3-0, resulting in a celebratory frenzy at the pitcher’s mound.
The Lutes are confident about the rest of the postseason.
“We feel like we just discovered air,” catcher sophomore Katie Lowry said.