ORANGE, CA -- Gizelle Pera (JR, Los Angeles [pictured above]) went 4 for 8, scoring 3 runs and driving in 5 in CMS’ last non-conference double-header of the 2010 season. In a continuation of a remarkable season, the three year starter kicked off the top of the fifth with a lead-off blast over the 230’ center field fence at one of the largest intercollegiate parks in the country. The squad, up 2-0 at the time, built on the momentum of her shot scoring another run in the fifth and plating two more in the sixth. Fellow junior Melissa Munoz (JR, Union City) swung a hot stick as well going 2 for 3, accounting for one run scored and driving in another in game one.
Pitchers Amanda Banducci (SO, San Mateo) and Rebecca Gularte (SO, Sunnyvale) combined forces to stymie the Panthers with “Ducci” throwing five innings of shut-out ball scattering just 5 hits and Gularte, in relief, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits to close out the 6-3 victory.
In game 2, CMS fell behind as they struggled to muster an offensive attack over the first six innings. Under the lights on a cold, damp night, however, the squad refused to lose. Once again, the hot bat of Munoz led off the top of the seventh with a rocket shot that one hopped the fence at 215’. Her stand-up double was followed by fellow junior Kat Yale’s (Yorba Linda) walk putting runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. A strike out gave the Panthers a much needed out before Emily Lopez (SO, Fresno) walked to load ‘em up. With ducks on the pond, a strike out/passed ball gave the Panthers their second out and the Athenas their second run, closing the gap to 2-4 with just one out left.
As if choreographed in a dream come true fairy-tale of sorts, a confident, excited Pera stepped to the plate and with one swing of her bat, changed the outcome of the 2 hour contest. On a 2-1 count, Pera crushed her second home run of the night some 225’ plating 3 and putting the Athenas up 5-4. It was an explosive shot into the night sky and an extraordinary display of clutch hitting. One fan jumping and screaming at the time, later calmly reflected, “Boy, that ball got out of here in a hurry.”
Gularte took the circle in the bottom of the seventh and led her troops to a three up-three down inning, inducing two ground outs and a strike out to seal the exciting 5-4 come back.
The two victories pushed the Athenas record to 30-6, the first 30 win season in CMS Softball history. Currently ranked 13th in the nation (http://nfca.org/top25/index.php?cat_id=3) and 2nd in the NCAA West Region (http://www.ncaa.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/042110aab.html), the squad takes the field again Saturday, April 24th with the hopes of capturing their first SCIAC Championship since 1999.
Game times are 12 and 2pm at Athena Field and between games, senior day celebrations will take place.