Coming into their doubleheader showdown on Saturday, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team (16-13, 14-6 SCIAC) had a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the SCIAC. The Athenas and their opponents, the University of La Verne Leopards (23-7, 16-4 SCIAC) were tied at 14-4 in conference play entering the games.
However, the Leopards came away with a pair of victories, 1-0 and 12-2, to take over the top of the standings. Following the doubleheader, the Athenas found themselves squarely in second place.
The first game was a pitching duel between two of the SCIAC’s best, the Athenas’ Anna Gurr CM ‘18 and La Verne’s Elisa Ponce. The two pitchers kept the game scoreless until the ninth inning, when the Leopards’ Sienna Kendricks drove in the winning run, hitting a single that drove in Carly Condon. Kendricks had earlier broken up Gurr’s bid for a no-hitter in the fifth inning.
Solid defense behind her allowed Gurr to keep the Leopards’ offense at bay for most of the game. Both Gurr and Ponce pitched the whole nine innings, striking out eight and five batters, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Athenas’ offense put runners on base but was consistently unable to capitalize on their opportunities. In the first game, they outhit their opponents seven hits to five and left ten runners on base.
After a difficult and hard-fought loss in the opener of the doubleheader, the second game quickly turned sour for the Athenas. Starting pitcher Chloe Amarilla CM ’19 struggled to find her composure and only pitched one third of the first inning, giving up six runs off of five hits and putting the Athenas in an early hole.
Continuing with a theme from the first game, CMS responded by loading the bases in the home half of the inning because of some pitching errors by La Verne, but were once again unable to convert their baserunners into runs. When the Leopards tacked on five more runs in the fifth inning, the game was effectively over.
In the bottom fifth, the Athenas finally got on the board for the first time in the two games, with Amarilla hitting an infield single and coming around to score on an RBI groundout by Alison Jue SC ’20, and Carly Roleder CM ’18 scored on a passed ball. The two runs were only consolation in the eventual 12-2 loss.
The Athenas will look to bounce back and consolidate their hold on second place during the team’s next series, a double-header with their cross-campus rival, Pomona-Pitzer (10-24, 6-16 SCIAC). The games will take place at Athena Softball Field on Friday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m..