Athenas Sweep La Verne in Crucial SCIAC Doubleheader

Reeve Grobecker (R) and Molly Spaniac (L) celebrate runs.
Reeve Grobecker (R) and Molly Spaniac (L) celebrate the Athenas first runs of the day.

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team swept the University of La Verne, the SCIAC leaders coming into the day, in a pivotal SCIAC doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The Athenas took Game One 4-0 with the help of a four-run fifth inning, before charging late in Game Two to break a 3-3 tie and earn an 8-6 victory.

Anna Gurr (CMC) went the distance in Game One, tossing a complete game shutout. She allowed six hits while striking out five to improve to 14-6 on the season. Chloe Amarilla (CMC) went 4-4 at the plate and scored a run.

Amarilla took to the mound in Game Two, striking out six en route to her 10th win of the season. Five different Athenas contributed an RBI in the contest, helping CMS take three of four games in the season series with the Leopards.

Game One: CMS defeats La Verne 4-0

Pitching dominated through the first four innings of the first half of the twin bill as both teams were held off the board. Jiana Rojo held the Athenas at bay at the plate, striking out the side in the bottom of the first and three more through the second and third.

The Leopards threatened in the top of the fourth, but a laser throw from Kawai Scanlan (SC) in center to Maddie Valdez (CMC) behind the plate cut down a runner trying to score.

The Athenas figured out Rojo in the bottom of the fifth, striking for four runs on six hits to break the game open. Reeve Grobecker (CMC) led the inning off with a chopper over the pitcher's head for a single before stealing second. Molly Spaniac (CMC) stepped to the plate next and singled up the middle, taking second on the throw home that was too late to catch Grobecker. An error on the play allowed Spaniac to score, putting CMS up 2-0. Starting over with the bases clear, Amarilla singled through the left side and Carly Roleder (CMC) put down a perfect bunt single, and both advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Briana Halle (CMC). Scanlan walked to load the bases and back-to-back singles from Valdez and Jessica Fox (CMC) plated two more.

The Leopard bats were no match for Gurr, and the senior struck out the final two batters to earn her 14th win of the season.

Amarilla did her part at the plate going 4-4 with four singles. Grobecker and Valdez each notched a pair of base hits.

Game Two: CMS defeats La Verne 8-6

The second game saw a lot more offense, with the two teams combining for 14 runs. Amarilla tossed all seven innings in the circle for the Athenas and struck out six in her 10th win. Both teams brought in three runs in the first inning and remained knotted up until CMS exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Leopards attempted a comeback in the top of the seventh, but it fell short and CMS hung on to win 8-6.

The Leopards plated three runs on two hits, taking advantage of two walks, to put up a three spot to start the game. Not looking to go down easily, the Athenas answered back with three of their own.

CMS scored all three of their runs in the home half of the first with two outs. Amarilla reached on a fielder's choice and Roleder was hit by a pitch to put two on, and Halle came up with a clutch single to right, plating Amarilla before Roleder scored on an error that allowed Halle to take third. Scanlan stepped to the plate next and singled through the left side to knock in Halle and tie the game at three apiece.

Amarilla settled in on the mound in the top of the second, striking out the side in order. She got some help from her defense in the top of the third when Savannah Green (CMC) cut down a runner attempting to steal to end the top of the inning.

The Athenas put together a big bottom of the fifth, bringing in five runs on five hits. Fox split the gap in right center for a double to get the wheels turning. The Athenas then put together three-straight RBI singles with all three runners then stealing second to put pressure on the La Verne defense. Kylie Hetzel (HMC) followed Fox with a pop-up in front of the plate for a single, leaving no play for the pitcher who fielded the ball. Grobecker and Spaniac added singles to plate two more before Roleder beat the throw from the shortstop by a step for an infield base hit. The Athenas took advantage of passed balls when both Spaniac and Halle scored on balls to the backstop to cap the five-run inning and send CMS into the sixth with an 8-3 advantage.

The Leopards mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of two CMS errors to score three runs. With two outs, a ground ball to Grobecker at second ended the threat as the Athenas hung on to win 8-6.

Spaniac and Roleder led the offense with two hits each and five different Athenas knocked in a run in the contest. Grobecker, Spaniac, Scanlan, and Hetzel all swiped a bag in the game.

Amarilla improves to 10-3 on the season after going the distance with six strikeouts.

Head coach Gina Oaks Garcia was impressed by her team's performance.

"They had a lot of energy and playing at home is always a plus," Oaks Garcia said. "After having the four-game sweep last weekend and then coming into these games, it was awesome to see that they were eager and ready to play a team like La Verne. Getting these two wins is huge."

The Athenas move to 26-10 overall and 15-9 in SCIAC play after sweeping the Leopards and win the season series, taking three of four.