The 2010 and 2011 CMS Softball seasons set successive "best record in CMS Softball history" marks. CMS also won SCIAC Championships in 2010 and 2011. Thus, committing to improve upon the past and take the program where it's never been before presented a formidable challenge to the 2012 squad. But, once again, the Athenas demonstrated that bold challenges engage their passions and fuel their competitive fires.
Injuries and several personal losses contributed to a bumpier regular season than in recent years, landing CMS in second place behind SCIAC rival University of Redlands. Putting disappointment behind them, the team headed to the SCIAC Tournament, with the automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament hanging in the balance.
After two days of action, behind exceptional pitching from freshman Hayley Schultz, CMS had beaten each team in the tournament for a clean sweep 3-0 record, the SCIAC Tournament Championship, and a fourth consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament. Schultz finished the two day run 3-0, with an impressive 1.00 ERA, striking out 11 and walking 3 over 21 innings pitched in consecutive complete games.
Schultz was well supported offensively as a host of teammates stepped up at the plate. Senior Rebecca King scored four runs and drove in another three as she blasted two out of the yard. Over the course of the tournament, every starter recorded at least one hit and accounted for at least one run. The Athenas outhit their opponents 26-14, outscored their foes 16-4, and stole the show amassing five stolen bases and allowing none. In 21 defensive halves, CMS committed only two errors for a fielding percentage of .977 for the tournament.
The 2012 SCIAC Tournament Championship was the first in CMS Softball history… taking the program where it's never been before. The tournament championship also earned CMS the automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament, sending the squad to the national championship tournament for the fourth year in a row.
For the second time, CMS was sent to the University of Texas – Tyler for the first round of play, often called "regionals." In another program first, CMS won its first two games ousting Louisiana College 9-2 and the 7th ranked, number one seed and host, Texas-Tyler 3-1. Unfortunately, the squad faltered on the third day losing to eventual 2012 National Champion Pacific Lutheran. Only hours later, they were eliminated by host Texas-Tyler in a rematch.
Compiling a 2-2 record and being one win away from a regional championship game also marked program firsts…once again, taking the program where it's never been before.
Pitcher Hayley Schultz and shortstop Emily Lopez made the All-Tournament team.
Schultz and Lopez were also recognized in conference and the NCAA West Region: Schultz was awarded SCIAC Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the All West Region 2nd Team, Lopez was voted the SCIAC First Team Shortstop and was named to the All West Region 1st Team. Rebecca King and Harmony Palmer were also honored on both the All SCIAC squads as well as the All West Region teams.
Lopez finished her career as the CMS record holder for home runs and walks. Schultz finished her freshman campaign tied for 36th in wins in Division III and ranked 20th in fewest walks allowed per seven innings.
For the second year in a row, CMS was ranked in the NFCA Top 25 every week of the season. Affirming its stature as a nationally competitive program, the Athenas were offered a spot in the 2013 NFCA Leadoff Classic, an invitation-only tournament that brings together many of the strongest teams in the country. The tournament will take place in Columbus, Georgia in March, 2013.
The 2012 season also marked the final run for a cadre of seven seniors who played 25 seasons of CMS Softball. Though the class of 2012 will be missed, each of them moves on to exciting professional pursuits armed with a prestigious diploma from either Claremont McKenna College or Scripps College.
Looking forward, anticipation grows as a talented core of returnees prepare to put on their cleats once again, led by senior First Team All-American Harmony Palmer. http://cmc.edu/news/cmcmagazine/2012summer/pdf/summer2012_DefiningTheFitness.pdf
Palmer will be joined by starters Michaela Ecklund, Megan Latta, Rebecca Ciszewski and Hayley Schultz. Several others who saw limited action in 2012 will compete for spots alongside a talented incoming class of almost a dozen.
The 2013 schedule will be predictably rigorous, the action will be predictably fierce, and the 2013 squad promises to take the program where it's never been before.
To follow the Athenas on-line in 2013, go to: http://www.cmsathletics.org/sports/sball/index