MCMINNVILLE — Meredith Brunette homered during a four-run first inning, and Linfield went on to win the NCAA Division III softball title with a 10-2 victory over Washington, Mo., in Salem, Va., on Tuesday.

MCMINNVILLE — Meredith Brunette homered during a four-run first inning, and Linfield went on to win the NCAA Division III softball title with a 10-2 victory over Washington, Mo., in Salem, Va., on Tuesday.

Two former North Medford players are on the Linfield team: sophomore pitcher Kendra Strahm and freshman outfielder Rachelle Wilden.

The Bears beat Linfield on Sunday, forcing the Wildcats to win two games Monday to earn a spot in the championship game. The Wildcats (44-7) were no stranger to elimination games, having won four straight at the Western Regionals, then three straight in the national finals.

"We've been in that situation a lot," Linfield coach Jackson Vaughan told the McMinnville News-Register. "It was nothing new for our kids. When a loss threatens to end their season, they're going to leave it all on the line."

The Wildcats put the pressure on Washington early, scoring four quick runs against All-America pitcher Laurel Sagartz.

"It was very important to score early off of her," said Brunette, a junior from Beaverton who went 4-for-4. "That was part of our game plan."

The Wildcats added a run in the second inning and four more in the third, turning the game into a rout. Amanda Attleberger had two home runs for Linfield, and Lisa Smith also went deep.

Brittany Miller (24-5) pitched a complete game for the Wildcats.

Vaughan, the defensive coordinator for the Linfield football team, is becoming a big fan of Salem, Va. The Wildcats have won national championships on his last two trips to the city, the other being on the gridiron.

"I'm becoming a huge fan of Salem," he said. "The key is just getting back here. Hopefully, we'll get to do it again this fall."