The CMS Athenas (19-4, 10-2 SCIAC) suffered their first and second losses in SCIAC play over the weekend, splitting with Whittier College (16-13, 7-7 SCIAC) on Saturday and University of Redlands (11-1, 17-8 SCIAC) on Sunday.
Both losses came in the second half of the twin bills and both occurred in the seventh inning. At Whittier, the Athenas took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Minutes later, an error and 3 hits allowed the Poets to plate two and take the game 7-6.
The loss placed the Athenas in second place coming into Sunday’s contest against the Bulldogs of Redlands. Bringing forth a 9-1 record, the Athenas were in a position to take first with a sweep of the 10-0 Bulldogs. CMS won the first game in convincing fashion 5-3, while stranding 12 batters, including leaving bases loaded twice in the game.
Game two was all CMS for 6 innings, but once again, the team failed to finish. Carrying a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh, two walks, a HBP and 3 hits allowed the visitors to score 4 and turn the game around. The Athenas were not able to resurge in the bottom half and lost 5-3. The disappointment was palpable as all four runs were scored with two outs.
“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” had never been more true. To the Bulldogs’ credit, they stayed alive and rallied when they needed it most. For the Athenas, it was a hard lesson lived and learned. The squad will, no doubt, return to action with a renewed sense of commitment, resolve and determination.
For fans and spectators, the action was intense, exciting and high level. Both teams played well and competed hard.
On the weekend, Gizelle Pera (Junior, Los Angeles, [pictured right]) led all hitters batting an astounding .615 through the four contests. She laced two doubles and drove in two runs, while scoring four herself. Pera’s On Base percentage was a staggering .688 for the two days’ battles. Right behind her providing offense was Emily Lopez (Sophomore, Fresno, [pictured left]). Lopez batted .455 for the two days, driving in 4 runs and delivering an OB% of .500. Harmony Palmer (Freshman, Oceanside) continued her productivity driving in 3 runs, while Michelle Harvey (Junior, San Diego) and Rebecca King (Sophomore, Bellevue, WA) contributed well scoring 3 runs apiece, with King driving in another couple.
Pitchers Amanda Banducci (Sophomore, Belmont) and Rebecca Gularte (Sophomore, Sunnyvale) carried the weekend’s contests pitching almost all 28 innings of play. Both were in great command of all four games, though suffered breaks in concentration both in the circle and behind them defensively when it counted most in the two losses. Though the losses stung the squad deeply as they realized what they had let slip away, the young team also knows what they are capable of this year.
They are bonded going forward in the reality that we learn the most through adversity and that “that which doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.”
The Athenas are back in action today, Thursday, April 1st against Pacific Lutheran at 3:30.