Valdez Leads Athenas to Twin Bill Sweep of Oxy

Maddie Valdez (CMC) went deep twice and had the walk-off base hit in the Game One win. (photo credit: Matthew Fenton)
Maddie Valdez (CMC) went deep twice and had the walk-off base hit in the Game One win. (photo credit: Matthew Fenton)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – A six-run deficit after the first two innings did not stop the Athenas from taking Game One over Occidental College in Wednesday's doubleheader. Maddie Valdez (CMC) was the hero in a 7-6 victory, smashing two home runs before knocking in the winning run with a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to complete the comeback. The freshman stayed hot at the plate, legging out two triples in a 6-1 win in Game Two. Chloe Amarilla (CMC) pitched all 14 innings for the Athenas and struck out 10 batters, earning two wins on the day.

Game One: CMS defeats Occidental 7-6

Occidental came to play on Wednesday, putting up six runs in the first three innings of the game to take an early 6-0 lead over CMS. The Athenas were held hitless through the first two innings and began to chip away at the Tiger lead in the bottom of the third.

In the home half of the third, Kylie Hetzel (HMC) drew a walk to get the ball rolling. Three-straight singles from Reeve Grobecker (CMC), Molly Spaniac (CMC), and Amarilla pushed a run across to put CMS on the board. Carly Roleder (CMC) then drew a walk, forcing home a run to cut the deficit to 6-2.

Valdez added a run for the Athenas in the bottom of the fourth, sending a solo home run over the left field way to bring CMS within three.

The momentum stayed with the Athenas in the bottom of the fifth. Roleder reached on a fielding error and Briana Halle (CMC) drew a walk to put two runners on base. Valdez stepped to the plate with two outs and cranked a three-run shot to left, tying the game at 6-6 with her second home run of the game.

Amarilla got CMS out of a jam in the top of the seventh, forcing a groundout with the go-ahead run on third to end the threat.

Halle singled through the left side to get things going for the Athenas in the bottom of the seventh and Megan Mendez (CMC) relieved her on the bases. A sacrifice bunt from Kawai Scanlan (SC) advanced Mendez to second before she took third on a wild pitch. Already having a successful day at the plate, Valdez stepped into the box with two outs and hit a hard ground ball to the hole at short. The diving shortstop made the stop, but Valdez raced down the line to beat the throw with a headfirst slide, allowing Mendez to score and complete the comeback win in walk-off fashion.

Valdez led the Athenas with three hits and five RBI including her two home runs. Amarilla earned her fourth win of the season.

Game Two: CMS defeats Occidental 6-1

The Athenas got on the board first in Game Two, taking an early lead while shutting down the Tiger's offense. Amarilla went to work for her second-straight game in the circle and found success again, earning her fifth win. Valdez shined again in Game Two, legging out two triples.

Her first triple of the game came in the bottom of the second. Scanlan drew a leadoff walk and Valdez knocked her in, putting CMS up 1-0.

The offense continued to work in the bottom of the third. Amarilla helped herself out with an RBI triple, knocking in Spaniac. She later came around to score on an RBI single from Halle to put the Athenas up 3-0 after three innings.

CMS doubled their lead, putting up a three-spot in the bottom of the fourth. Valdez led the inning off with a walk then advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Jessica Fox (CMC). Grobecker drew a walk to put two on before Spaniac pulled a single through the right side to bring in a run. Amarilla stayed hot, dropping a double into right center to plate two more, giving the Athenas a 6-0 advantage.

Occidental picked up a run in the sixth, but Amarilla sat the Tigers down in order in the top of the seventh to close out the game, giving CMS the 6-1 win.

Spaniac, Amarilla, and Valdez each had two hits in the game. Amarilla legged out a double and a triple and Valdez raced around for two triples. Amarilla led the Athenas with three RBI in the win.

In her fifth win of the season, and second of the day, Amarilla gave up just one earned run while striking out eight.

Valdez finished her day going five-for-six with 6 RBI, two home runs, two triples, and walk-off single.

"Walking up to the plate, I wasn't trying to think about it too much, I was just trying to get a hit for my team. We were down by a few run so I wanted to help. It was a good day, and two good team wins," Valdez said.

With the twin bill sweep, CMS improves to 14-4 on the season and 7-3 in SCIAC play. They take a break from conference play for the rest of the week and will take on Western Connecticut State on Thursday in a midweek, non-conference matchup before taking on Hamline on Saturday. Both doubleheaders are set to begin at noon.