Alone in First! CMS Softball Moves to 6-0 in SCIAC with Sweep of No. 11 Pomona-Pitzer

CMS celebrates a walk-off tenth inning win over Pomona-Pitzer in the opening game
CMS celebrates a walk-off tenth inning win over Pomona-Pitzer in the opening game

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Sophomore Megan Perron had the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the tenth in the opener, and sophomore Maddie Valdez had the tie-breaking two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning in the nightcap as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team swept two games from No. 11 Pomona-Pitzer on Friday afternoon to take over sole possession of first place in the SCIAC.

With the wins, the Athenas move to 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the SCIAC. Pomona-Pitzer, which also came in 4-0 in league play and ranked No. 11 nationally, falls to 7-2-1 overall and 4-2 in the league with the losses. 

Freshman Lauren Richards threw the tenth inning of the opening game to get the win in relief of senior starter Chloe Amarilla, then threw a complete-game shutout in the nightcap to pick up wins in both contests to improve to 4-0 on the year. She has not allowed an earned run in league play yet, earning a 3-1 win over Chapman, a 10-0 shutout win over Cal Lutheran and a 2-0 shutout win over Pomona-Pitzer in her three league starts. 

The tenth inning went to the international tiebreaker rule in order to try to ensure the full doubleheader would get in before darkness. After Pomona-Pitzer sacrificed the runner to third base, Richards left her started with a foul pop up and a groundout. 

CMS then batted in the bottom of the tenth with a chance to win the game by bringing home Richards, who was placed on second to start the inning. Two fly balls left Richards on third base with two outs, giving the Sagehens a chance to get out of the jam and send it to the 11th. Perron, though, drove a ball into the right-center field gap for the game-winning RBI single (which would have been a double, except that the game officially ended when she touched first base safely) to give CMS the walk-off win. 

The Athenas had to come back twice in its last at-bat in order to get it to the 10th inning. Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh after Pomona-Pitzer scored the game's first run in the sixth, Valdez nearly homered to tie it, but settled for a triple into deep left-center. One out later, Perron came through with the first of her two big hits as she doubled down the left field line to tie the score 1-1. CMS loaded the bases with a chance to win it in regulation, but Pomona-Pitzer starter Liz Rodarte was able to get out of the jam. 

Pomona-Pitzer scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth to take the lead back, but again CMS responded to tie the score. Sophomore Molly Spaniac led off with a single, and was sacrificed over by Richards. Valdez flew out the other way to right field to advance Spaniac to third, but left the Athenas down to their last out. Sophomore Kawai Scanlan, though, came through with a clutch RBI single to right field to even the score back up at 2-2.

 Perron ended up 2-for-5 with two RBI in the opening game, while Amarilla was 2-for-5 at the plate and allowed one earned run over nine innings in the pitching circle. Liz Rodarte took the tough luck loss for the Sagehens, and batted 3-for-3 at the plate with two walks. 

The nightcap was also tied 0-0 going into the sixth inning, and Richards got out of a mini-jam in the top half to keep the game scoreless. Rodarte doubled to improve to 6-for-6 in the doubleheader and a walk and a groundout left runners on second and third and two outs. Richards induced a slow roller to second base that had the potential to be an infield hit, but junior Kylie Hetzel made a smooth play to charge it and sidearm a throw to first in plenty of time. 

In the bottom half, Spaniac drew a walk and Valdez came through with one of the big hits of the day, driving a pitch to left-center that carried over the wall to break the deadlock and give CMS a 2-0 lead. It was reminiscent of a year ago, when she homered against Pomona-Pitzer in the bottom of the sixth to break a 1-1 tie in the SCIAC Tournament and send the Athenas through to the championship game. 

Richards had a little bit of work left to do after getting the lead, and she battled through a 14-pitch at-bat before getting Taylor Lehner to ground out on a full count to start the seventh. She then picked up a strikeout and a lazy pop-up to first to finish off the complete game four-hit shutout (with Rodarte accounting for three of the four Pomona-Pitzer hits). 

Spaniac was 2-for-2 in the nightcap, while Perron was 1-for-2 to finish off a strong day at the plate. 

CMS will be back in action next Saturday, when it hosts La Verne for a 12 p.m. doubleheader at Athena Field.