LA VERNE, Calif. – The stands were packed in La Verne on Sunday afternoon when the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team shut out the La Verne Leopards to win to 2018 SCIAC Tournament Championship, the fifth in program history. With the victory, the Athenas secure the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. SCIAC Pitcher of the Year Anna Gurr (CMC) tossed her 30th career shutout and was named the tournament's MVP after not allowing an earned run through all 21 innings in the tournament.
Briana Halle (CMC) and Kawai Scanlan (SC) got the job done for the Athenas at the plate, knocking in the game's only runs in the bottom of the first. A stellar performance form the defense kept the Leopards' bats at bay and gave Gurr all the support she needed.
CMS got on the board quickly in the home half of the first with the help of a double from Molly Spaniac (CMC). Chloe Amarilla (CMC) walked to put two on before Halle stepped to the plate with two outs. The senior got the scoring started with a hard hit single to left, moving Amarilla around to third and bringing Spaniac in to give CMS a 1-0 edge. Scanlan followed with a base hit of her own to plate Amarilla and put the Athenas up 2-0 heading into the second inning.
The defense handled the game the rest of the way, playing the best they had all weekend. The Leopards tried to put a rally together in the top of the second with two on and two outs, but a back pick to first from Maddie Valdez (CMC) behind the plate quieted the threat.
One of Gurr's biggest strikeouts came in the top of the fourth with two in scoring position and one out. She sat Kathryn Navarro down swinging before forcing a fly ball to center to end the inning.
A one-two-three fifth and sixth was aided by a stellar defensive move by Carly Roleder (CMC) at shortstop. With a runner on first and one out, the senior fielded a ground ball at short and took it to the bag herself before firing a dart to Halle at first to turn two and send the Athenas back to the plate.
A lead-off walk issued to La Verne did not bring CMS down one bit. After throwing out a runner on a fielder's choice, back-to-back ground balls to Amarilla at third ended the game and the Athenas celebrated their SCIAC Tournament Title on the field.
Gurr finished her final SCIAC Tournament as the MVP after tossing all 21 innings and not allowing an earned run. She walked two batters through the three games and struck out nine while giving up just 11 hits.
In the last eight years, the Athenas have made it to the SCIAC Tournament Championship game, and have now won the Title five times, with the last most recent coming in 2016.
As mentioned, the Athenas claim the SCIAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Tomorrow at 10 a.m. the NCAA will announce the location of the Regional Tournaments. Stay up to date with all the postseason news at cmsathletics.org and follow the Selection Show tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.