In double-header action on Senior Day, Saturday, April 23, the CMS Athenas 32-8 (19-5 SCIAC) bested the Whittier Poets 15-3 (5 inn.) and 8-6 to win their second straight SCIAC Championship. By winning the 2011 Regular Season title, CMS also wins the right to host the 2011 SCIAC Softball Tournament, again, for the second year in a row.
The Athenas exploded for 23 runs on 23 hits in only 11 offensive innings in a demolition that showcased power hitting, clutch hitting, punishing base running, and flawlessly executed small ball. However, the untold story in the final scores is the contrast between the two victories.
In game one, which lasted a mere 4 ½ innings, the Athena offense rolled over the Poets like a bulldozer. They put up a 9 spot in the bottom of the first, with Emily Lopez' (JR, Fresno) grand slam shot lighting up the inning and setting the tone for the afternoon. 15 batters came to the plate. The first 8 of them scored. Senior Michelle Harvey (San Diego) scored twice in the inning, setting the tone for her afternoon. Announced as the all-time CMS record holder for hits accrued, Harvey added another 5 to her record smashing 186 to finish the day with 5 hits and 6 runs scored.
The bottom of the second was more of the same. Against a new pitcher, the Athenas went back to work scoring another 6 with junior Emily Nordhoff (Seattle, WA) lacing the first pitch she saw into right center for a double and a signal that the onslaught would continue. Two batters later, a string of 6 consecutive hits, a walk and a fielders choice had plated 6 putting CMS up 15-2 after two.
The 15-3 game was called after 4 ½ innings under the 8 run-rule, and thus offered the Athenas only four offensive halves during which they notched 12 hits, 15 runs, 15 RBIs, 3 stolen bases, and seven extra base hits: 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 grand slam.
Rebecca Gularte (JR, Sunnyvale) led the defense maintaining their 2011 average of 3 runs allowed per game. She scattered 7 hits and 3 runs in five complete innings of play ending a superb season in the circle at 12-3, 2.41 ERA overall (9-2, 2.32 ERA SCIAC). Gularte, who has held batters to a .266 average over the year, is healthy coming into post season play and will be hard to beat, particularly as her teammates are generating over six runs per game.
In game two, after a Senior Day celebration (Pictured Top) that paid tribute to five Athenas completing their fourth years of play for CMS Softball (left to right): Kara Mantani (Redwood City), Chelsea Baker (Tucson, AZ); Gizelle Pera (Los Angeles), Katerina Yale (Yorba Linda), and Michelle Harvey (San Diego), the squad was slow to find their rhythm and fell behind 4-0 after two innings. But, after a decisive 3 up-3 down top of the third inning, the squad returned to the dug-out and quickly started chipping away putting up 2 runs before stranding Harmony Palmer (SO, Oceanside) only 60 feet away after an Olivia Jacobs' (FR, Shoreline) bullet line drive to third was caught.
Not to be turned away, the Athenas finally ignited their offensive fireworks. They put up 4 in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead 6-5, sparked by a leadoff hit from Harvey (San Diego) as well as a patented RBI double by Palmer who, as only a sophomore, stands one double away from tying the CMS Softball career doubles record. Emily Lopez continued to wield the hot stick drilling a rope to right that allowed her to bag three bases. Amanda Banducci crushed a shot that had grand slam written all over it until an incoming wind held it up, crashing it into the outfield fence and plating two more to extend the lead and cement the victory.
Emma Friedenberg (JR, Danville) carried the bulk of the load in the gutty, courage filled win allowing only 6 hits and 3 runs over 5.2 innings during the tension filled battle. After a rocky start, when Friedenberg settled in, her numbers were spectacular. The junior gave up only 3 hits and 2 runs in innings 3-7 and stifling the Poet offense 3 up-3 down in three of their final five offensive halves. Friedenberg finishes the 2011 Regular Season at 14-1, 2.39 ERA (7-1, 2.77 ERA in SCIAC).
On the afternoon, the top five batters for CMS (Harvey, Pera, Palmer, Banducci, Lopez) combined for: 20 hits, 18 runs, 20 RBIs, 7 stolen bases.
The back-to-back SCIAC Championships are a first in the history of CMS Softball. The 2011 Championship is the fifth conference championship earned since the program's inception in 1990.
The Athenas will host the upcoming 4th annual SCIAC Tournament for the second year in a row beginning at 9am Friday, April 29th. Details forthcoming.