CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team was 3-1 over the weekend sweeping Cal Lutheran (9-1, 10-7) and then splitting with Pomona-Pitzer (2-1 loss, 8-0 win) on Senior Day. Seniors Morgan Beltz, Hannah Dunham and Megan Latta were recognized as this year's graduating class before the games against Pomona-Pitzer.
Play during the weekend's games vacillated between decisive leads and nail biting ties. The Athenas forced two games to end before regulation due to the eight run rule but then the other two games were tied going into the final inning.
Against Cal Lutheran, the Athenas' offense got off to an explosive start in the first game. Beltz went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored. The ball was jumping off sophomore Brooklyn Robinson's bat as she was 4-for-4 and a homerun short of hitting for the cycle.
CMS scored their first runs in the second inning off a bases loaded, two out single by sophomore Janelle Shiozaki. Another highlight was a shot over dead center by sophomore Mikayla O'Neal in the third inning to give the Athenas a 5-0 lead.
Defensively, junior Hayley Schultz gave up only four hits and the Athenas did not allow any free bases due to errors or walks.
The Athenas scored at least two runs in four of the five innings played, earning them the 9-1 victory.
In the second game of the day, every time CMS took the lead, the CLU offense came alive and the long ball kept the score close.
Sophomore Katie Savard started the game off with a three run blast over the right center fence in the first inning and reached safely during every subsequent at bat of the game.
After homers by the Regals' Blake Lewis and Andrea Brackpool, the game was tied up at seven runs apiece going into the seventh. CMS broke the tie in the top of the inning by forcing errors and then taking the 10-7 lead with an RBI bunt single by Beltz.
The next day, CMS took on Sixth Street foe, Pomona-Pitzer. The Athenas decisively beat the Sagehens earlier in the season but were unable to complete the 4-0 sweep on the year. The first game saw the Athenas give up unearned runs on defensive errors and then lacked the timely hitting on offense.
CMS out-hit Pomona-Pitzer nine hits to six but ultimately stranded runners in scoring position in six of the eight innings including leaving the bases loaded twice. In the game, Beltz was 2-for-3 and had two stolen bases.
Led by Susanne Boden, who was 3-for-4 at the plate, the Sagehens were able to capitalize on the Athena errors to come away with the 2-1 extra-inning victory.
The Athenas bounced back in the second game to earn an 8-0 six inning win. The defense settled down behind Minami and shut out the Sagehens. Minami allowed only two hits and struck out six.
The aggressive swinging and base running made the difference in the second game. The Athenas stole six bases, three by sophomore Tara Robinson. Robinson currently leads SCIAC with 21 stolen bases in conference play. Robinson was prolific at finding a way on base going 2-for-2 with a walk and scoring three runs.
In what would become the final inning, Beltz got on board with a walk and was successfully sacrifice bunted over by Dunham in her first plate appearance of the year. Tara Robinson then doubled down the left field line to drive in Beltz. The eighth and winning run was scored off a single through the left side of the infield by freshman Cassie Davis plating Brooklyn Robinson.
The Athenas improved to 23-12 on the season and 18-8 in SCIAC, placing them solidly in second place for the upcoming SCIAC Tournament (5/2-5/3). Before the tournament, the Athenas travel to Occidental to take on the Tigers on Saturday (4/26) for the final games of the regular season.
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