No. 12 CMS Softball Welcomes in No. 3 Ithaca on Friday for 2 PM Doubleheader

Sophomore Maddie Valdez has a home run in each of the first five doubleheaders this year for the Athenas
Sophomore Maddie Valdez has a home run in each of the first five doubleheaders this year for the Athenas

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team, currently ranked No. 12 in the nation, will host a big non-conference battle when it entertains No. 3 Ithaca in a doubleheader on Friday at 2 p.m.

The Athenas come in on an eight-game winning streak (all in SCIAC games) to improve to 9-2 on the season, with one of the losses coming to Vanguard of NAIA. CMS has won all eight of those games in SCIAC play, including a doubleheader sweep of La Verne last weekend, taking the opener 8-7 in eight innings and then winning the nightcap 5-3. The only Division III loss the Athenas have suffered this year came in the second game of a doubleheader against Whitworth in nine innings, when the game went to the international tiebreaker rule. 

Ithaca is currently 5-1 on the year (heading into a doubleheader at Whittier today) with the one loss coming to No. 7 Berry. The Bombers reached the Division III Softball Championship (final eight) last year, winning both their Regional and a Super Regional at No. 6 St. John Fisher, before eventually being eliminated in a close loss to No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan 1-0, the eventual national champion. 

CMS and Ithaca last met two years ago in the 2017 campaign, with Ithaca coming away with a 5-0, 6-3 sweep at Athena Field. Current senior Chloe Amarilla was 4-for-6 in the doubleheader, including 3-for-4 in the nightcap.

Athena Scoop
• Claremont-Mudd-Scripps moved into the No. 12 spot in the national rankings this week after debuting at No. 15 last week. The Athenas earned their way into the national poll by sweeping No. 11 Pomona-Pitzer on March 1, winning the opener 3-2 and the nightcap 2-0 to debut at No. 15 in the poll.

• CMS stretched its winning streak to eight games last Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of La Verne, taking the opener 8-7 in eight innings and the nightcap 5-3. Freshman Alexa Schulten had the game-winning two-run single in the bottom of the sixth in the nightcap.

• The Athenas are 8-0 in SCIAC, winning five of those games in their final at-bat, including two in extra innings (game one vs. Pomona-Pitzer, game one vs. La Verne) and three when they broke ties in the bottom of the sixth (game one vs. Chapman, game two vs. Pomona-Pitzer, game two vs. La Verne). 

• Freshman pitcher Lauren Richards is 6-0 in the circle (all in SCIAC games), and has won both ends of the last two doubleheaders by coming on in relief in extra innings in the opener and throwing a complete game in the nightcap. She has twice been named the SCIAC Pitcher of the Week, which was sandwiched around another Pitcher of the Week honor for senior Chloe Amarilla

• Sophomore Maddie Valdez has five home runs this year, hitting one in each of the five doubleheaders that CMS has played so far, two of which broke ties in the sixth inning against Chapman and Pomona-Pitzer. Valdez was named the SCIAC Hitter of the Week on Feb. 18. 

• Senior Chloe Amarilla was named to the NFCA Division III Player of the Year Watch List, one of 50 players in the country to earn a spot on the list. Amarailla captured Third-Team NFCA All-America honors last year with a .428 batting average and also threw a no-hitter in the pitching circle against Hamline. 

• Sophomore Kawai Scanlan joined Amarilla on the NFCA All-West Region team after ending her freshman season with a .381 batting average and 30 runs batted in. 

• CMS was picked to finish second in an incredibly close SCIAC preseason poll. Pomona-Pitzer was first with 52 points, CMS was second with 51, and La Verne and Whittier were both tied for third with 49 points.