Maddie Valdez RBI Single Helps CMS Softball Salvage Split With Redlands

Lauren Richards applies the tag to turn an unassisted double play in the opener (photo by Anibal Ortiz)
Lauren Richards applies the tag to turn an unassisted double play in the opener (photo by Anibal Ortiz)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Sophomore Maddie Valdez had a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie and give the No. 7 CMS softball team a 4-3 win over Redlands in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Friday, helping the Athenas come away with a split after the Bulldogs came back to win the opener 3-2.

With the split, the Athenas move to 28-7 on the season and 22-2 in SCIAC play, needing one more win to clinch the regular season title and the right to host the conference tournament with four games still to play (two at home vs. Occidental tomorrow and a road doubleheader at Whittier next Saturday). 

The nightcap came down to two plays at the plate in the sixth inning, both on two-out singles with runners on second base. In the top half, CMS center fielder Kawai Scanlan fielded a line drive on a hop and threw a bullet to home plate to Valdez, who applied the tag for the third out of the inning. In the bottom half, Valdez singled up the middle, and senior Chloe Amarilla raced around from second, barely getting her leg in ahead of the tag to put CMS ahead 4-3. 

Freshman pitcher Lauren Richards then finished off the win in the top of the seventh, leaving two runners on base on a pop-up to junior Kylie Hetzel at second for the final out of the game. Richards improves to 17-2 on the year with the win, allowing nine hits but yielding just the three runs. 

Richards figured prominently in both games, driving in both CMS runs in the first inning of the opening game with a two-run triple, and then adding an RBI single in the first to give the Athenas the lead, before her double in the fifth brought home the tying run, eventually. Richards drove the ball in the fifth to deep left-center field, and freshman pinch runner Natalie Dale was caught in a rundown after trying to come around to score on the initial hit. Dale barely dove back into third safely, and Richards was then caught in a rundown between second and third, before Dale came home a second time and slid in under the tag to knot the score at 3-3. 

Scanlan gave CMS a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the nightcap when she tripled into the right-center field gap and came home when the relay throw to third got away and into the home dugout. Redlands got one back in the third when Jennifer Ng had an infield single on a chopper to second, and Julianne Rodriguez raced all the way around from second to score when the throw went to first. The Bulldogs then took the lead in the fourth when a squeeze bunt from Sam Rivas tied it and an infield single from Jessica Torosian plated the third run to put Redlands ahead. 

Redlands also scored three times to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 advantage in the opener, and those runs proved to be the difference. Amarilla took a shutout into the sixth, before Jordyn Smith homered to right center to make it a 2-1 game. In the seventh, Ng singled and a pair of walks loaded the bases with two outs. Nova Siegel then grounded to Richards at shortstop, who went for the flip to second for the final out, but Tyesen Gordon slid in and just beat Hetzel to the bag, and Rodriguez kept running and came in to score after Hetzel was knocked to the ground in the collision at second with the go-ahead run. 

Amarilla came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and nobody on and hit a rocket towards left, but Smith was in the right place at the right time to snag the liner for the final out and give Redlands the 3-2 win in the opener. 

Valdez (2-for-3) and Richards (2-for-4) each had multi-hit games in the nightcap, while Richards was 2-for-3 in the opener for the Athenas. Rodriguez was 4-for-7 for Redlands in the twinbill, with two stolen bases and two runs scored from second base on infield singles. 

CMS will be back in action tomorrow when it takes on Occidental for a 12 p.m. doubleheader, knowing one win will secure at least a tie for the regular season SCIAC title and the top seed in the conference tournament, while a sweep will secure the outright regular season championship.