CMS split with first place University of Redlands (winning 6-3 and losing 4-2) to cap off their second successive weekend of disappointment in the ups and downs of intercollegiate softball.
The squad knew first place hung in the balance as they took the field against Redlands on Friday, April 10. With only two games between the conference leaders, a sweep of the Bulldogs would have put the Athenas in a tie for first place. However, the inexperienced, championship hungry young squad let the opportunity slip through their fingers.
Game one showcased the Athenas full capabilities with commanding performances on both sides of the ball. Anchoring the defensive attack was senior pitcher Erika Weingart (Brea), currently on pace to peak at the perfect time. Weingart held the Bulldogs to just five hits and three runs across seven complete innings.
Offensively, the Athenas mounted a continuous assault racking up 12 hits and six runs in their six offensive halves. Seven batters recorded hits in the relentless attack. Gizelle Pera (SO, Los Angeles) and Michelle Harvey (SO, San Diego) continued to produce as table setters going five for eight with two runs scored for the game. The high points of the game were two home-run blasts by Seattle freshmen Emily Nordhoff (pictured left) and Rebecca King (pictured right). Nordhoff stepped in with two outs in the bottom of the fifth with Jessica Vaughn (SR, Placerville) on third. The freshman blasted the second pitch to center field clearing the fence at 225" directly into a 20+ mph wind. Her two run shot put the Athenas up 3-1. The next inning, fellow rookie King kicked off the inning with a huge, towering solo HR over the left field foul pole spurring what became another three run inning and putting the squad up 6-3 going into the top of the seventh. Weingart handled the Bulldogs one-two-three to end the game and set up an exciting shot at a sweep and a tie for first place.
Unfortunately, the Athenas could not master the challenge. Though they jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three, the Bulldogs answered back. Defensive errors in the top of the fourth and fifth allowed three unearned run to score and gave Redlands a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. Unable to rally the bats, the Athenas managed only five hits in their seven halves and stranded 8 in the outing.
The Athenas continue to improve down the home stretch as they set their sites on a strong finish in the regular season and their best performances in the post-season SCIAC tournament. With only eight SCIAC games left in the season, the Athenas (11-5) must finish well and hope the Bulldogs (13-3) stumble in the final two weekends of play.
Another weekend of exciting play is in store for all CMS Athena fans as the team hosts the University of La Verne on Friday. Game one begins at 2 pm.