The 2014 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament began on Friday at the University of Redlands Softball "Field of Dreams", and after the day was complete, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, the University of Redlands, and Whittier College all remained alive with a shot at the tournament title.
CMS (27-12) finished the day as the only undefeated team, defeating third-seeded Chapman University in its first game, 6-0, while coming from behind to top Redlands, 5-4. In the comeback triumph over the Bulldogs in the final contest on Friday, the Athenas could not get anything going early on, but scored five runs in the last two innings to earn the victory.
The top-seeded Bulldogs (28-12), playing as the visiting team, jumped on top via an RBI double from Vicki King in the top of the first inning, scoring two U of R runners. Redlands then tacked on another in the second when AJ Carrasco tripled to right field, scoring an additional Bulldog. Redlands added one more in the fifth, but CMS responded in the sixth frame.
The Athenas capitalized on an error early on by Redlands in that sixth, and eventually Morgan Beltz doubled to right-centerfield with the bases loaded, clearing the bases and tying the contest at 4-4. CMS then won the game in the bottom of the seventh, scoring the winning run via a single to right field combined with a Bulldog fielding error.
Katie Savard led the way for CMS with a 3-for-3 performance, while Beltz tallied a team-best three RBI.
Carrasco recorded a team-high three hits for the U of R, while King registered two hits and two RBI.
Earlier in the day, the top-seeded University of Redlands Bulldogs opened the event with a 7-4 showing over No. 4 Whittier College (27-15). The Bulldogs gained a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the second frame by taking advantage of two big hits after three Poet miscues. Amanda Lievanos fired off a two-run double to right field, with Kristen Hooper and Kaitlyn Hooper both crossing home plate. In the Bulldogs' next at-bat, Vicki King blasted one of the longest home runs in Redlands history well over the left-field scoreboard to score two runs.
However, Whittier rallied for four runs over the course of the subsequent three innings, with Emi Shimamoto and Samantha Mellano notching RBI for the Poets.
Nonetheless, the Maroon and Gray settled down defensively with Lauren Henson in the circle. She closed out the game for the save, facing 11 batters and displacing three hits.
Kaitlyn Hooper earned her 19th win of the season while scattering three hits in four innings of work.
Samantha Blum took the loss for Whittier, striking out four in six innings.
In the second game of the day, No. 2 CMS jumped on top early and never looked back, defeating Chapman, 6-0. Haley Schultz led the way from the circle for the Athenas, scattering three hits in four innings of work with five strikeouts. Following Schultz, Kaylilani Minami provided three solid innings of relief for CMS, giving up only two hits while shutting the Panthers out.
The Athenas tallied two runs in the first and one in the second via big RBI hits from Carlene Roberts and Tara Robinson. They tacked on another in the fourth when Savard registered an RBI single. CMS finished Chapman off in the sixth frame and left no doubt when it scored two more runs, sealing the six-run triumph.
Roberts led the way at the plate for CMS, going 2-for-2 with four RBI, while Savard also registered two hits with one RBI and one run scored. Additionally, Robinson went 3-for-3 with one RBI and a team-best three runs scored.
For Chapman (24-18), Lisa Perez notched a team-high two hits in defeat.
In the third game of the day between the Poets and the Panthers, both teams battled while trying to avoid elimination from the postseason tournament, with Whittier eventually coming out on top, 6-4.
The Poets went in front in the first inning when Alexandra Flores blasted a home run over the left-field wall. Whittier then scored three more to finish the opening frame on a strong note, taking a commanding 4-0 advantage into the second.
Chapman fought back by halving the deficit in the top of the fifth inning, but the Poets responded with two of their own in the bottom half of the frame to extend the advantage to 6-2.
Despite the Panthers scoring a pair in the seventh, Whittier held on to secure the two-run victory while eliminating Chapman from the tournament in the process.
Whittier's Jordan Learn provided a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, bringing home four runs and scored one of her own. Courtney DeLano and Mercedez Cundiff connected on two hits apiece, with DeLano also earning the win from the circle. She gave up just one hit in 4.2 innings of work. Anna Cade preserved the victory with a save for the Poets.
With the Panthers struggling at the plate, Amanda Perez recorded the only two-hit performance of the game for her team, going 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Cassie Oregel suffered the loss for the Panthers.
Play continues on Saturday with Redlands and Whittier facing off in an elimination game, beginning at 11 a.m. The winner then faces CMS at 1:30 p.m. in the championship game, followed by an if-necessary second contest between the foes at 4 p.m.
The champion of the 2014 SCIAC Postseason Tournament earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, with the formal announcement coming on Monday morning.