Briana Halle CM '19’s crushing grand-slam was the cherry on top of an epic ending for the Claremont-Mudd Scripps softball team (6-3-1, 5-1 SCIAC) in their first game against the California Lutheran University Regals (7-8, 2-4 SCIAC) on Saturday, Feb. 27. A seven-run rally in the fifth inning, including Halle’s grand slam, culminated the 8-0 shutout victory. All in all, the series was a strong showing for CMS as the Athenas swept the Regals 8-0 and 12-4.
The morning game started tight, as CMS held a slight 1-0 lead over the Regals going into the fifth inning. Anna Gurr CM ’18 pitched a stunning game for the Athenas, allowing only three hits in five lights-out innings.
By the fifth inning, the game had been a tough-fought battle; that ultimately came together in the Athenas’ favor due to their enduring drive and deep talent. Three consecutive singles from sparkplug Tara Robinson CM ’16, Carly Roleder CM ’18, and Reeve Grobecker CM ’19 loaded the bases to start the inning’s seven-run rally.
Abigail Metsch SC ’19 and Carlene Roberts CM ’16 were also big offensive contributors for CMS: Singles from Metsch and Roberts drove in Roleder, Robinson, and Reeve, which put CMS ahead of Cal Lu 4-0. “We’re a really strong hitting team, and obviously we got to see that this game,” Robinson said. After another single from Mendez to load the bases for the Athenas, Halle walked up to the plate, pinch-hitting for Victoria Huynh CM ’19. With only one out, Halle launched a homer to clear the bases. The grand-slam secured the Athenas’ 8-0 victory over Cal Lutheran and gave CMS the momentum heading into their second match.
Excitement high after Halle’s huge hit, the Athenas wasted no time putting runs on the board in game two against the Regals. By the second inning, CMS held a 7-0 lead, thanks to five hits and a sac fly. The Athenas felt a little more pressure during an uneasy fourth inning where the Regals bounced back with three runs from Monique Ramirez CL ‘17, Blake Lewis CL ‘16, and Scarlett Pettine CL ’19 to narrow CMS’ lead 8-3. However, the Athenas didn’t let this inning faze them: Metsch, Roberts, and Robinson hit four RBIs to help CMS earn two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, making the score 12-3. Although a hit from Lewish in the bottom of the sixth gave the Regals another run, it wasn’t enough to overcome the CMS lead. The Athenas left Hutton Field undefeated.
The CMS softball team credits a large part of its success to its cohesiveness. “Other teams have fight in them, but we have that too, and they don’t necessarily have the talent we have,” Robinson said. “If we lose, we want it to be because we got beat, not because we didn’t show up.”
The Athenas do have deep talent and gifted players this season, which is translating into wins for the team. “Roleder is starting at shortstop, Metsch is having a great first season at the plate, Grobecker is the starting second baseman, our pitchers Gurr and Molly Rubidoux CM ’16 are pitching well,” Robinson said. “I don’t want to not name everyone because everyone across the board is contributing however they can, which is so important for team success.”
“Softball takes a lot of time, our double headers … are all day events and it’s very draining, but we do have the talent and skill and mental toughness to go far,” Robinson continued. “Something we want to do as a team is go all the way and make it to the World Series. Just believing that we’re good enough when we play our best is crucial for us.”
With a great confidence-boosting win under their belts, the Athenas are ready to take on a strong University of Redlands team (7-3, 4-2 SCIAC) Friday, Mar. 4, at 2 p.m., followed by two competitive rivalry rematches against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (2-7, 1-3 SCIAC) Saturday, Mar. 5. No doubt the weekend will be important for the Athenas, as they look to keep their No. 1 SCIAC ranking. “If we win this series, we have the real opportunity to set ourselves apart from the competition,” affirms Robinson.