The CMS Softball team played flawless defense over 13 innings and 55 batters faced in a sweep over SCIAC rival Whittier College.
In Game 1, the Athenas' offense sputtered while the Poets got on track early scoring in the second frame to put them up 1-0. Over five innings, senior pitcher Rebecca Gularte was dinged for 7 hits and 2 runs while giving up 3 walks in her bumpiest start to date. In a demonstration of the squad's tenacity, as the usually stingy Gularte came up short, the defense stepped in to pick her up.
After scoring one in the second, Whittier had a chance to add to their lead in the third when Michelle Brody (pictured top) came up huge kicking off a difficult 5-2-3 double play to close out the inning and rally. Her defensive stop kick started the offense and in the bottom half, the Athenas tied the game at 1 on a sacrifice fly by Michaela Ecklund plating Megan Morris (pictured bottom). Morris went 2 for 2 in the game and scored 2 runs in the tight 3-2 victory.
In the top of the fifth Brody started a second double play, this time 5-4-3, that once again generated momentum that carried over to the offense. In the bottom of the fifth with CMS trailing 2-1, clutch hitter Harmony Palmer hammered a ball to the right side scoring pinch runner Rebecca Ciszewski and Morris to put the Athenas up 3-2.
The one run lead was all the squad needed as Freshman Hayley Schultz came in to close out the final two frames taking over with a runner on first. In impressive fashion, the young hurler faced six batters going three up-three down twice. The Los Angeles native did not allow a hit or a run in a dominant performance to earn the save.
In Game 2, CMS' bats came alive racking up 9 hits and 10 runs in the 6 inning mercy-rule win. Once again, errorless defense laid the foundation as between Brody and Ecklund, the left side of the infield accounted for 6 assists or 1/3 of outs recorded against the Poets. Schultz, on a roll from her save in game 1, came in to scatter 4 hits, strike out 4 and walk none while giving up one run. She also contributed defensively with two assists of her own.
Offensively, the squad swung the bats well notching 9 hits. They also moved runners effortlessly with several key bunts in the contest. Morris and Brody were hot again scoring two runs apiece. Pinch runners Kendall Kritzik, Rebecca Ciszewski, Emily Nordhoff, and Gracie Coburn all contributed, taking over for a less speedy teammate and scoring. In the bottom of the sixth, Morgan Beltz came off the bench to smoke a ball to left putting her on for what would become the game ending run when freshman Katie Echavia stepped in to get her first walk-off hit as an Athena. Wide spread contributions ruled the day as between game 1 and game 2, every offensive player on the team recorded a hit or a run, with Beltz, Brody, Morris and Palmer doing a little of both. Walk-on Hannah Dunham, though yet to see game day action, continues to make a huge and critical contribution to the Athena's success as the bullpen catcher.
Catch CMS Softball this Saturday as they participate in their first Cougar Clash at Cal State San Marcos, playing NAIA Simpson College at 1pm and host CSU-SM at 3pm. Click here for more information: http://www.csusmcougars.com/sports/2012/2/22/SB_0222120925.aspx?id=56