The Boxer Baseball team won the Northwest Conference Postseason Tournament at home in front of the packed stands at Chuck Bafaro Stadium in Forest Grove on Sunday, April 25th. The team took care of business on championship Sunday with back-to-back wins against Linfield University to automatically advance them to NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Boxers swept the championship game with an 8-5 win over the Wildcats.
Before the NWC postseason tournament, the team played a series at George Fox University on April 14-15th that could have potentially secured them as the Conference Champions and host of the NWC postseason tournament. By the end of the ninth inning, the Boxers had fallen short with a tough walk-off loss.
To focus on the game they were playing against George Fox, the coaching staff did not check the overall standings during the game. Shortly after the game, when frustration levels were high, the standings revealed Linfield University had won their series against Pacific Lutheran, putting the boxers in the first seed position and securing home-field advantage in the upcoming tournament.
While still on George Fox Universities’ field, the team started to cheer and celebrate their new title.
A tall senior and frequent home run hitter, Ryan Krout explained the moment as one of the “weirdest sports moments” he had ever been a part of. Besides the Boxer Baseball team, no one else understood the celebration after a loss.
“Coach Tread, in the midst of so much frustration, said, ‘well, fellas… Linfield won.’ and everyone started freaking out,” explained Krout. “It was wild.”
David Allen, a junior and a typical relief pitcher who pitched for an inning in the NWC tournament championship game, remembers how quickly their emotions had changed when they found out they were NWC Conference Champs.
“We found out after the walk-off loss at George Fox, so there were emotions everywhere, and everyone went from pissed to excited in a matter of seconds,” said Allen.
After a hard-fought season, Krout explained how meaningful this championship was to the team.
“We knew we were capable of going back to back despite our rocky start, and I am so proud of the team for rallying around each other and not giving in when things weren’t going our way,” exclaimed Krout. “In some regard, the way we fought this year with a target on our back the whole year makes this championship even more special.”
The Boxers will host Linfield on April 27th for their last non-conference home game and await the NCAA to announce their seeding and travel plans for the NCAA tournament. — Emily Rutkowski