CMS Softball Celebrates Senior Day by Clinching SCIAC Regular Season Title

(l to r): Chloe Amarilla, Megan Mendez and Rachel Perley were honored prior to the doubleheader
(l to r): Chloe Amarilla, Megan Mendez and Rachel Perley were honored prior to the doubleheader

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The No. 7 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team honored its three seniors as part of Senior Day and then went to capture a pair of one-run wins (8-7, 4-3) over Occidental to clinch the SCIAC regular season title outright and earn the right to host the conference tournament on May 3-5.

With the sweep, CMS reaches the 30-win plateau as it improves to 30-7 overall and 24-2 in SCIAC with one regular season doubleheader left next weekend at Whittier. Occidental fell to 4-31 overall and 3-21 in SCIAC with the losses, after playing the Athenas tough in all four meetings, including one that went extra innings in the first doubleheader. 

Prior to the game, the Athenas honored their three seniors, pitcher/infielder Chloe Amarilla, outfielder Megan Mendez and outfielder Rachel Perley. Amarilla homered in the opening game and earned the pitching win in the nightcap, while Mendez made her first start of the season in right field in the opener and had a hit to score a run. In fact, at one point in the opening game, the bases were loaded with seniors, as Mendez, Amarilla and Perley were on third, second and first, respectively.

The big bat of the day belonged to sophomore Megan Perron, who was 3-for-4 with three RBI in the opener and then went 3-for-4 again and drove in all four CMS runs in the nightcap with a three-run homer and a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to break a 3-3 tie. Perron ended the day with the cycle if you combine both games of the doubleheader, with a triple and two singles in the opener, and a homer, a double and a single in the nightcap. 

In the nightcap, CMS held the 3-0 lead after Perron's homer in the fourth into the late innings. With two outs and nobody on in the sixth, Occidental pushed a run across with two extra-base hits to pull within 3-1 and then tied it with two in the seventh, potentially spoiling a strong Senior Day pitching performance from Amarilla. 

However, Amarilla led off the bottom half of the seventh and roped a single to center to set the table. Sophomore left fielder Molly Spaniac bunted her over to second, and Perron drove a blast into left-center that appeared to be on its way to being her second round-tripper of the day. Instead, the ball one-hopped the fence, but it gave Amarilla plenty of time to race around from second with the game-winning run as CMS finished off the doubleheader sweep and picked up its 30th win of the year.

CMS also had to hold on in the opening game, as Occidental scored three times in the top of the seventh to close an 8-4 Athena lead to 8-7, but with two runners on Amarilla ran from her shortstop position into shallow left field by the foul line to snare the final out of the game. 

Amarilla staked CMS to a 2-1 lead with a two-run homer in the bottom of the second, her sixth round-tripper of the year, and the Athenas tacked on two more in the third on an RBI double from sophomore catcher Maddie Valdez and an RBI single from freshman first baseman Ananya Koneti. Occidental bounced back to tie it in the top of the fourth at 4-4, but Perron tripled into the right-center gap to put CMS ahead 5-4. Perron tacked on two more RBI in the sixth with a two-run single, and Valdez added her second RBI on a single to left. 

Freshman Lauren Richards got the win in the opener, with three of her seven runs allowed ending up earned, as she improves to 18-2 in her rookie season. Amarilla improves to 10-5 on the year with her win, and also had two multi-hit games, finishing 4-for-7. 

CMS will head to Whittier on Saturday knowing that it has the top seed and home field advantage locked up. The double-elimination SCIAC Tournament will get underway on Friday, May 3 with opening round games, with three games on Saturday and the championship round (either one game or two) on Sunday, May 5.