Comeback in Nightcap Falls Just Short as CMS Softball Suffers Sweep in Season Finale
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Down 4-0 in the sixth with its season in the line, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team rallied for three runs to close the deficit to one, and had the winning run on base in the bottom of the seventh, but came up just short as Pomona-Pitzer held on for a doubleheader sweep, winning 10-0 and 4-3 on Saturday at Athena Field.
The two losses leave CMS out of the SCIAC Tournament with a 19-9 final record and a 12-9 mark in conference play. The Athenas were one out from securing their bid at Pomona-Pitzer on Friday, but the Sagehens had a game-winning two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 3-2 win and carried that momentum into Saturday, winning twice to tie the Athenas for fourth place at 12-9 and earn the tiebreaker in the process.
Whittier, which CMS swept the three-game series from this season, could also pull into a tie at 12-9 with two wins tomorrow against Cal Lutheran, but Pomona-Pitzer would have the three-way tiebreaker as well, due to a 5-1 record against the two teams after taking two of three from the Poets.
On Saturday, the CMS bats were stymied for 12 innings before the Athenas came alive in the sixth inning of the nightcap. Destiny Garcia started things with a leadoff single, and after an error put two runners on, Abby Thompson hit an RBI single to pull the Athenas within 4-1.
A walk loaded the bases, and Kaili Aqui came through with a clutch two-out, two-run single to get CMS within a single run. Pomona-Pitzer brought Erika Rivera in to close in the seventh, and she retired the first two batters on pop-ups. With the Athenas down to their last strike, senior Lauren Richards prolonged her career with a line drive single, and Paige Zimmerman followed with a line drive single to put two runners on with two outs.
That brought Thompson up, who was 2-for-2 against Rivera in the series opener on Friday (and 4-for-4 for the game with both CMS runs batted in), and who had just had an RBI single in her previous at bat. Rivera was finally able to get her, though, on a foul pop at first base, to clinch a SCIAC Tournament bid for the Sagehens.
Garcia was 3-for-4 in the nightcap for CMS. In the opener, the Athenas managed just four hits, as Richards, Emily Nutting, Maren Summers and Emma Suh each reached on singles, but CMS hit into three double plays for the game. Megan Otsuka and Lauren Ziment were each 4-for-5 with three RBI for the Sagehens in the opener.
CMS will lose its five members of the Class of 2022, including Richards, who has had a standout career as both an infielder and pitcher, earning SCIAC Newcomer of the Year honors in 2019. Jordan Bassett, Natalie Dale, Ananya Koneti and Alexa Schulten were also honored prior to the contest for their contributions to the program during a difficult era that saw two seasons cut short or canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.