Pitching led the way once again as the CMS Softball team swept Chapman University in two dramatically different contests.
In game one, the Athenas pounded their West Region rivals 9-0.
Senior pitcher Becca Gularte improved to 3-0 on the season, compiled her third shut-out of the year and refused to allow the Panthers any momentum as she continued her 0.00 ERA. The two-time All-SCIAC award recipient scattered 8 hits, struck out two and did not give up a walk in the decisive 6-inning victory.
Harmony Palmer led all hitters going 3 for 5, with two triples and 5 RBIs.
Gularte, ever poised, used her defense particularly well as the squad played error free softball over 24 at-bats. Freshman Shelby Long made her college pitching debut closing out the 6th inning by not allowing a hit and striking out 1.
As often occurs in collegiate softball, game 2 did not resemble game 1 in the least. After one complete inning, the tone was set and a pitching duel was at hand. A solo blast by Lindsay Holt put Chapman up after 2. But Palmer, clutch once again, drove in a speedy Megan Morris for the only CMS RBI of the game. The score remained deadlocked until the top of the fifth.
Senior Michelle Brody led off with a shot through the left side to start things off. Junior Kendall Kritzik came in to pinch run for Brody and was quickly moved to second as sophomore Megan Latta laid down a sacrifice bunt. With one out, Morris moved Kritzik to third with another bunt putting the Gilbert, AZ native just 60' from home and the lead. As Palmer stepped into the box with a chance for more nighttime heroics, the excitement was palpable. An alert Kritzik flew home on a wild pitch that put the Athenas up 2-1, ultimately for good.
Once again, CMS' defense hung tough playing error free softball. In the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers led off with a double and had two in scoring position before the Athenas battened down the hatches and grabbed the win. Freshman Hayley Schultz led the way with a gutsy pitching performance, scattering 5 hits while striking out 6. Schultz, no stranger to high stakes pitching, showed courage, tenacity and innumerable fine pitches in a character revealing contest.
The Athenas hope to take their learnings and momentum from the evening into a double-header against the University of La Verne Saturday, February 18th, at Wheeler Park at noon.