Maddie Valdez Hits 17th Career Home Run as CMS Softball Drops Doubleheader to Linfield
CLAREMONT, Calif. -- The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team fell by the scores 13-4 and 7-4 to drop both ends of a doubleheader against Linfield on Saturday at Athena Field.
The Athenas fall to 5-6 overall with the loss and, due to it being a nonconference series, remain 2-1 in the SCIAC. Linfield moves to 4-0 overall and has yet to play a Northwest Conference game this season. Ananya Koneti drove in four runs in the two games on two hits including a three-RBI double in the first game that put the Athenas up 4-1 through two innings. It was a tough day in the circle for the young Athenas, as the starters combined to give up 19 of the 20 runs allowed in the two contests.
In Game 1, a scoreless first inning gave way to a five-run second frame as the Athenas fell behind 1-0 in the top of the 2nd on an RBI single to center field by Makenna Clizer but CMS responded with four runs in the home half of the frame on a double by Koneti. Maddie Valdez doubled to right field with one out and then scored on a fielder's choice where Valdez beat the throw home following a well-placed bunt by Alexa Schulten getting the Athenas on the board.
Later in the inning, Natalie Dale reached on a bunt single loading up toe bases for Koneti who drilled one to the fence in center field plating all three runners and putting CMS in front 4-1 through two innings. Linfield responded in the top of the third with three runs on two hits, tying the game 4-4. Baily Paul cleared a bases-loaded situation with a triple to left-center and equaled the score at four.
From the second inning on the Athenas were held to one hit by Maddy Podnar (W, 1-0) who walked one batter and struck out two to earn her first win of the season. The Wildcats broke the gates open in the top of the 5th when they scored nine runs on five hits, all capped by a grand slam from Kelsey Wilkinson, marking her only hit of the game, and putting Linfield in front for good, 13-4.
In Game 2, the Athenas and Wildcats were locked in a scoreless game through two innings but in the top of the third inning, the Linfield bats came alive scoring four runs on three hits including a single to center field by Abi Proffitt to cap the inning that pushed the Wildcats in front 4-0.
CMS surrendered another run to the Wildcats in the top of the fourth inning when Wilkinson again came through with a single to center field which extended the deficit to 5-0 through three-and-a-half innings. In the home half of the frame, Maddie Valdez launched her first home run of the year, a two-run shot, marking the 17th homer of her career and putting her one home run shy of the CMS softball program record. The homer cut the deficit to three runs, 5-2, and gave put the Athenas right back in the game.
Linfield pushed across two insurance runs in the top of the seventh, which would be needed, as Proffitt flew out to center and Paul scored followed by a single to center from Apling Kamryn to score pinch-runner Chloe McDaniel and extend the Wildcat's lead to 7-2.
CMS used a single to center field by Koneti and a bases-loaded walk by Valdez in the home-half of the seventh to score two runs and put pressure on the Wildcats but that is all the damage that could be done and the Athenas fell by the final of 7-4.
The Athenas are back in action at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 at Whittier to continue SCIAC play and then return to Athena field on Saturday, Feb. 29 for a doubleheader against the Poets at 11:30 a.m.