It's Tournament Time!
The Athena Softball team completed a tremendous 2008 regular season winning six of its final eight in two weekends of play and are currently 24-10. The strong finish earned the squad second place in SCIAC (17-7), a standing bettered only three times in the 19 year history of the program. The Athenas are seeded second at the inaugural SCIAC Softball Tournament. CMS will kick off the tournament at 9am Friday, May 2 against the University of La Verne at host site University of Redlands. The complete schedule for the tournament can be found at: http://www.redlands.edu/x35968.xml
The Athenas moved up to sixth in the West Region in the latest rankings (http://www.ncaa.com/softball/default.aspx?id=199934) and are regionally ranked for the third week in a row.
The following is a recap of the season to this point:
The season had a special feeling from day one. The young squad of 18 was evenly divided between newcomers (eight freshmen and one sophomore transfer) and returnees. This balance soon became a source of strength, success and fun, the latter particularly evident during competitive slip-n-slide races.
Freshmen Michelle Harvey (San Diego) and Melissa Munoz (Union City), both ALL-SCIAC First Team awardees, have been relentless offensive producers. Table setter Harvey is currently on an 11-game hitting streak and has recorded 15 multi-hit games this season. Explosive first baseman Munoz, has 10 multi-RBI games this season and has notched the game winning RBI 6 times.
Julia Cruz (SO, Tustin [pictured] leads the team from the circle. The Athena's third ALL-SCIAC First Teamer, tied for best W/L % in SCIAC with an 11-2 record. She led the team to 14 of its 24 wins on the season and heads into the post season among the most respected pitchers to toe the rubber.
Also ready to take the ball are juniors Stephanie McCarty (Huntington, NY) and Erika Weingart (Brea) and sophomore Dianna Buckett (Longmont, CO). Weingart, an ALL-SCIAC Second Team selection, has been instrumental pitching through tight, late innings as a closer of sorts. McCarty and Buckett have combined for over 25% of the teams wins, each throwing impressive victories over the course of the season.
Defensively, the Athenas take the field with the 15th best fielding percentage among all teams in Division III softball. Defending the middle, juniors Lisa Gutierrez (Alhambra) and Jessica Vaughn (Placerville) combine soft hands, accurate arms and smart play to lead the young team around them. Freshman Carlen Don (Lake Oswego, OR) anchors the hot corner with extraordinary consistency and poise, opposite Munoz or McCarty at first.
Behind the dish, Katerina Yale (FR, Yorba Linda) has been sensational. Her defensive play has been steady, intelligent, and clutch. She's thrown out 12 runners and handled difficult plays at and behind the plate. Offensively streaky, Yale can be a dominant hitter.
The outfield, among the best the coaching staff have ever seen, has impressed from day one. Chelsea Baker (FR, Tucson, AZ), was called "a true centerfielder" by a visiting coach earlier in the season. A joy to watch play, she is flanked by the fleet and steady Harvey in left and Emily Coleman (FR, Bellevue, WA), a hustler and gamer in right.
Key contributions will be needed from the dug-out as well during the upcoming SCIAC Tournament. Emma Porterfield (JR, Santa Barbara), plated 14 times on the season, brings speed and finesse to her role as a pinch runner. Abbey Hye (SO, La Jolla), ready for playoff action, represents the balance, strength and depth the squad has shown all season.
Shannon McKenna (JR, E. Aurora, NY), Kara Mantani (FR, Redwood City) and Nicole Nakata (SO, Honolulu, HI) stand battle tested and ready to step in offensively or defensively. Injured reserve Gizelle Pera (FR, Los Angeles) rounds out the Athena attack with her trademark "bezerkness."