Athenas lose a heart breaker after battling in NCAA Tournament

[Watch the post game press conference here]

SPOKANE, Wash. – "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" perfectly described the day of softball for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Sunday. The Athenas won the first game against the previously unbeaten Linfield Wildcats 3-0. This win forced the "if necessary" championship game against Linfield again in the NCAA Spokane Regional. In a dramatic and emotional back-and-forth game, CMS ultimately fell in a 6-5 heartbreaker in eight innings.

CMS finishes at 37-10-1 overall and went 3-2 in the Spokane Regional alone.

In the first game, the Athenas got on the board first as Victoria Huynh (CMC) and Tara Robinson (CMC) singled their way on, just as they had been doing all weekend. A walk to senior Katie Savard (CMC) loaded up the bases for sophomore Carly Roleder (CMC). She smacked a long fly to deep center field but far enough for Huynh to tag and give Roleder the sacrifice fly and CMS their first run.

Linfield's leadoff batter Jacinda Swiger earned a single and then advanced to third on a stolen base and ground ball to the right side of the infield. The Athenas held the Wildcats as both Abigail Metsch (SCR) and Roleder made nice plays on grounders to end the inning.

Linfield advanced runners into scoring position in both the second and third innings but the CMS defense kept the Wildcats at bay.

In the top of the fourth inning, Roleder stayed aggressive and got her first hit of the day with a double off the base of the left field wall. Then, Carlene Roberts (CMC) got a hold of one and hit her fourth home run in the postseason and fifth of the entire season, high over the center field fence.

Linfield got their lead runner on in four of the first five innings but never managed to score.

The Athenas got two big outs in the bottom of the fifth as the Wildcats were yet again in scoring position. Gurr caught pinch runner Alex Andreotti in a run down between home and third for the first out and then induced a shallow fly to left that Huynh was able to get under for an easy play. Metsch made the final out of the inning with a strong throw across the diamond to get the Wildcats' batting leader Melanie Oord out.

The rest of the game remained scoreless and, as Roleder made the final out in the bottom of the seventh, the Athena dugout jumped out onto the field in elation.

Winning the first game gave Linfield their first loss of the tournament and the two teams played again 45 minutes later.

Game 1 Box Score

In the second game, Linfield got on the board quickly with two runs in the first inning off Gurr, who started her fourth game of the weekend. The Wildcats added one more in the top of the second before the CMS coaches elected to go with senior Molly Rubidoux (CMC) in the circle to give Linfield a different look.

The Athenas loaded up the bases in each of the first two innings and scored on a fielder's choice RBI hit from Huynh. CMS tacked on another run in the fourth on a deep sacrifice fly by Savard.

Behind Rubidoux and then Gurr again, the Athena defense played two shutout innings before Savard's number came up again at the plate in the bottom of the sixth. With speedsters Shannon O'Neill (CMC) and Robinson aboard, Savard hit her second homer over the right center fence in as many days giving CMS their first lead of the game at 5-4.

Linfield countered quickly with a run to tie up the game in the top of the seventh.

CMS finally chased Linfield starter Maddy Dunn in the bottom of the seventh after she walked leadoff hitter, Briana Halle (CMC). The Athenas left Halle's pinch runner Elaine Wang (CMC) stranded on third to send the game into extra innings.

In the next top half, Linfield earned a leadoff walk of their own and then a one-out single to right center brought around Danielle Duman to score, giving Linfield the 6-5 lead.

CMS earned two singles and a walk to load the bases in the bottom half of the inning but ultimately Linfield's first baseman gobbled up a grounder for the third out, ending the game. The heartbroken Athenas looked on as the ecstatic Wildcats dog-piled on the field.

Coach Hipple wrapped up her post-game press conference stating, "I hope they all live their lives like they played today: all in. There is no shame in loss when you put everything into it."

Game 2 Box Score

Gurr ended up pitching 30 innings over the three day tournament, throwing more than 200 pitches on Sunday alone. Robinson led the Athena offense time and time again going 9-for-19 (.474) over the weekend. Roleder had a hit in each game and notched four RBI in the five games. These three players represented CMS on the All-Tournament team.

By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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