The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s softball team earned two wins against the University of La Verne April 21, and appears to be hitting its stride after a rough patch during the middle of the season.
In the first game, the Athenas took care of business against the 2017 SCIAC champions after a four-home-run fifth inning and a shutout from pitcher Anna Gurr CM ’18. Chloe Amarilla CM ’19 went 4-4, notching four singles, while Reeve Grobecker CM ’19 and Maddie Valdez CM ’21 added two base hits each.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Amarilla took over on the mound, and with solid run support, led the team to an 8-6 win. Molly Spaniac CM ’19 and Carly Roleder CM ’18 provided the offense with two hits each, while five different Athenas scored a run.
Head coach Gina Oaks Garcia was excited by the victories, which she credited to her team’s work ethic in practice.
“The sweep against La Verne was exactly what we set out to do and we accomplished it,” Oaks Garcia said. “The team has been practicing hard and it was so exciting to see them come together and achieve another solid weekend.”
The pair of victories was especially sweet for CMS, given that the Athenas were able to defeat the team that took them down in the SCIAC final last season.
“La Verne has been our main competition ever since I have been here,” first basemen Briana Halle CM ’18 said. “Any win against them is something we are proud of, and having those wins going into the SCIAC tournament this year will hopefully give us a little more confidence.”
While the goal throughout the season has always been to win the SCIAC championship, the Athenas’ confidence faltered during a rough patch in the middle of the season; they were swept by both Pomona-Pitzer and Cal Lutheran. However, the Athenas have since been able to refocus and right the ship.
“We came to practice after getting swept by Cal Lutheran and everyone was determine to fix something,” Kawai Scanlan SC ’21 said.
First-years like Scanlan have been instrumental this year, as the freshman class makes up four of the Athenas’ regular starting nine players.
“I’m really excited to continue playing with this group,” Scanlan said. “We have a really special bond, and we always have a blast in the dugout.”
Halle said team unity helped the Athenas to come back from some disappointing losses; they’ve won seven out of eight games thus far in April.
“We focused on playing as a team and emphasized team chemistry and working together,” Halle said.
Oaks Garcia was pleased by the Athenas’ performances, and believes that if they can continue to play at that level, they’ll fare well in the postseason.
“We had some great execution and solid defense,”Garcia said. “That combination will win a lot of ball games. We just need to focus on the simplicity of our game, make adjustments faster than the other teams, and I’m confident we will continue to thrive.”
The Athenas next face Sixth Street rival Pomona-Pitzer April 27 on CMS’ senior night.