CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team looked to junior ace Anna Gurr (CMC) when the No. 4 team in the country came to town. Berry (19-1) was previously unbeaten and averaged over 8.5 runs per game before matching up with the Athenas (6-6) on Tuesday afternoon. CMS dropped the first game 3-0 due to a pair of early unearned runs but then came back in the second to win in walk-off fashion 2-1.
Gurr pitched the majority of the double header for the Athenas. In 12 innings she struck out 17, scattered eight hits and allowed just two earned runs.
Game one featured 2016 All-Americans Gurr and Berry's Kassie Howard. The Athenas' defense floundered in the first inning, committing three errors and allowing two runs, a deficit they would not recover from. Gurr threw five innings and then handed over the ball to freshman Erin Alexander (CMC) in order to rest and prepare to throw game two.
The CMS offense had an opportunity to close the three-run gap in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases. Singles by sophomore Abigail Metsch (SC) and junior Briana Halle (CMC) set the table and then sophomore Reeve Grobecker (CMC) continued the rally with a bunt single. Howard then induced two pop ups to stifle the Athenas' momentum.
Sophomore Ande Troutman (CMC) looked to get things going again in the sixth but Elisabeth Federici in left field came in for a dramatic rolling catch to keep the Athenas off the bases.
The Vikings remained aggressive on the base paths late in the game, intending to add on some insurance runs. A one-out single gave Berry a runner who advanced to second on a wild pitch. Alexander deftly handled a comebacker and got the lead out at third base. Pinch runner Sarah Brown tried to go on the next pitch, but junior catcher Chloe Rodman (CMC) gunned her out to end the inning.
The Athenas could not rally in the bottom of the frame but quickly made the transition to focus on taking game two.
Senior Alexa Heydenberk (CMC) was the star of the outfield in the second game. The very first Berry batter, Brittany Ferrell, ripped a ball that had the intention of getting all the way to the fence. Heydenberk tracked it down and, with a well-timed leap, made the catch going away from the infield. She shifted to center field in the third inning and instantly had another opportunity to showcase her veteran skills. Heydenberk went to her left and laid out for a short pop up in shallow right center for the first out.
Meanwhile, the CMS offense came out swinging and had loaded the bases in the first inning. Game two hurler for Berry, Marie Collop, got out of the jam with a grounder right back to her in the circle. The game remained scoreless through three before Berry got on the board first.
Collop and Kenzie Fleming earned their way on with singles and then the designated player, Kayla Sangrey, came up with a big double to right to score one. That was the only extra base hit by either team on the day. The CMS infield kept the Vikings at bay as junior third baseman Carly Roleder (CMC) dove into the 5/6 hole and then made a strong throw from her knees for the second out of the fifth inning.
CMS answered in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore Rachel Perley (HMC) got hit by a pitch, the Grobecker bunted her way on and freshman Marissa Valdovinos (SC) earned a walk to load up the bases yet again. During freshman Alison Jue's (SC) at bat, Grobecker scored on an errant pitch for the equalizer.
After Gurr got a looking strikeout and then a fly out to right in the top of the seventh, the Athenas got to work in the bottom of the inning. Grobecker calmly took a walk and then Valdovinos made the defense hurry to get on with a second base error. With two outs on the board, Troutman re-entered for Jue and dropped in a single that was just shallow enough to make the right fielder have to come in on it. Valdovinos had gotten a great jump off second base and scored the go-ahead run for the walk-off 2-1 victory.
Prior to yesterday's double header, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association voted Berry as the No. 1 team in the nation.
CMS gets right back on the dirt today against Denison with games at 12 and 2 p.m.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
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