The excitement of the 2013 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament began on Friday, with four competitive games that saw their ups and downs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges posted an undefeated showing with wins over Chapman University (3-0) and the University of La Verne (3-0) to earn a spot in Saturday's tournament final. After splitting results on Friday, the University of Redlands and the University of La Verne look forward to meeting in the losers' bracket semifinal tomorrow at 11 a.m., with the winner advancing to face the Athenas. Saturday's games take place at the Redlands Softball "Field of Dreams."
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After dropping both contests on Friday, Chapman University exits its first ever SCIAC Postseason Tournament with a 24-16 overall record.
Game 4: No. 2 CMS vs. No. 4 La Verne
After posting early-round victories, CMS and La Verne battled it out in the day's fourth game, with the Athenas prevailing by a score of 3-0.
CMS put up two runs in the first inning with two outs, as Mikayla O'Neal doubled to right field to plate Marie Bradvica and Katie Savard. With two outs, Savard was walked and then Bradvica hammered an infield single to the shortstop, placing two runners on for O'Neal.
However, La Verne refused to go away and created multiple chances to score throughout the game. One such opportunity came in the third inning with Amanda Copas on second and Danielle Vela on third with only one out. However, CMS' ace, Hayley Schultz, got out of the tight situation by forcing a pop-up and ground-out on the subsequent batters.
Katherine Kibbe did her part for the Leopards as well, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fourth frame.
While both teams kept knocking at the door, CMS finally managed to push one across in the fifth inning. After Harmony Palmer singled down the right-field line and then advanced to second on a passed ball, Savard fired off an RBI-single, forcing a pitching change for the Leopards. Rachel Hong stepped in and closed out the inning unharmed, walking one and striking out three.
CMS' Schultz went the distance for the second time in the day, earning her 24th win of the season.
Kibbe suffered the loss after dispersing seven hits while allowing three runs. Hong stepped in for the final three innings, fanning six in the process.
Palmer connected on a team-leading two hits and O'Neal provided a pair of RBI for the Athenas.
Raven Freret highlighted the La Verne offense with a 3-for-4 performance.
Game 3: No. 1 Redlands vs. No. 3 Chapman
Faced with a must-win situation, Redlands and Chapman faced off in the third game of the day, with the Bulldogs prevailing by a score of 5-2.
Playing as the home team, the Panthers initiated the scoring in the bottom of the third when Jenny Richards launched a double to right field, scoring Larissa Rinauro from first for an unearned run via an error.
However, the Bulldogs quickly answered in the top of the fourth when freshman left-fielder Grace Rose (Villa Park, CA) doubled to left field, plating junior catcher Kristen Hooper (Riverside, CA) and freshman pinch-runner Kayleigh Meyers (Ferndale, CA). The duo moved to second and third on a fielder's choice, error, and a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Amanda Clark (Riverside, CA).
In the top of the fifth, freshman designated player Dani Santos (West Covina, CA) gave Redlands its third run by uncorking the team's fourth double of the game. After sophomore third baseman Linda Park (Torrance, CA) took first on a walk, Santos brought her home on the critical two-out hit.
The Maroon and Gray tacked on another score, making it 4-1 in the top of the sixth. Senior pitcher Kayla Uphold (Fontana, CA) helped her cause by belting out a long single to bring home Clark. Later in the frame, Rose came home to score for the Bulldogs on a throwing error by the Panther catcher.
Chapman showed resiliency in their last at-bat in the bottom half of the seventh, scoring one run and loading the bases. But a nice running catch by Redlands senior center-fielder Sarah Beeman (Corona, CA) ended the rally for the Panthers and gave the Bulldogs the exciting three-run victory.
Rose tallied a team-high three hits and two RBI in the triumph, while Uphold added a pair of hits and an RBI. Uphold also went five innings from the circle for the U of R, earning the win while dispersing three hits and allowing one unearned run. Redlands junior pitcher Kaitlyn Hooper (Riverside, CA) went the last two innings for the Bulldogs to help secure the important win.
For the Panthers, Natalie Both threw 5.1 innings from the circle, allowing nine hits and five runs, only two of which were earned. At the dish, Jenny Richards and Rhianna Stepler-Camp registered two hits apiece to lead the way for Chapman at the plate.
Game 2: No. 2 CMS vs. No. 3 Chapman
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps took care of business in its first game of the tournament, taking down Chapman University in a 3-0 performance. With the triumph, the Athenas improved to 5-0 against the Panthers this season.
The game remained scoreless through the first four innings, with CMS leaving four runners on while connecting on three hits.
Chapman recorded its first hit of the day when Stephanie Engle crushed a one-out single to left-center field in the top of the fifth. But CMS' Hayley Schultz shut down the remaining batters to finish the inning unscathed.
After a Panther error and one out, CMS looked to Tara Robinson and Harmony Palmer to uncork consecutive hits to put one on the board. Katie Savard provided all that the Athenas needed to make it 2-0 when she sent a chopper to the shortstop, allowing Robinson to seize the opening and score on the routine defensive play to first.
Chapman's best opportunity came in the subsequent stanza, when it strung together three hits to load the bases. However, with two outs, Schultz provided the well-timed strikeout to halt any chance of a Panther comeback.
Another Chapman miscue set up the Athenas' final score in the sixth, when an eventual fielder's choice play at home allowed the insurance run by Shannon O'Neill.
CMS' Palmer registered the only multi-hit performance of the game, going 2-for-2 with one RBI.
Schultz dispersed four hits and fanned two for her 23rd win from the circle.
Despite recording six strikeouts and giving up just one earned run, Cassie Oregel took the loss for the Panthers.
No. 1 Redlands vs. No. 4 La Verne
La Verne came out firing in the opening game of the day, upsetting the Redlands Bulldogs by a score of 5-2. With Friday's win, the Leopards have knocked off the 2013 SCIAC Champions four times this season.
Both teams connected on nine hits, but La Verne better capitalized on its opportunities by pushing five runs across. In addition, the Bulldog defense struggled by coughing up four errors to tie for their most this season.
In the top of the first, the Leopards got off to an early start by loading the bases and then scoring on a misfired throw during a fielder's choice. Redlands successfully executed the subsequent play at home for the second out, but an infield blooper by Rachel Hong allowed Katherine Kibbe to score the second run of the inning for La Verne.
After a pair of Bulldog errors in the fourth frame, the Leopards loaded the bases once again, setting up a three-spot performance. In addition, a pair of close calls at the plate fueled La Verne's scoring frenzy, which also inspired a two-out, RBI-single by Jackie Duran to bring home Danielle Vella for the 5-0 lead.
Uphold finished out the inning by forcing a fly-out before fanning the final batter.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when La Verne's only error of the game prompted two runs. The Hooper twins came home on a throwing error after junior catcher Kristen took first on a hit-by-pitch and junior pitcher Kaitlyn singled through the left side.
Redlands had a chance to tie it when Beeman and freshman short stop Vicki King (Thousand Oaks, CA) led off the sixth frame with back-to-back singles, forcing a Leopard pitching change. However, La Verne got out of an eventual bases-loaded jam with a ground-out and a pair of strikeouts after Hong entered the circle.
Kaitlyn Hooper admirably finished out the game for Redlands, scattering three hits in three innings for no runs.
Kibbe earned the win for the Leopards by scattering nine hits and allowing only two runs. Hong earned the save with two solid innings that included three strikeouts and no hits.
Duran highlighted the La Verne offense with her 3-for-4 effort with two RBI.
Beeman, King, and sophomore third baseman Linda Park (Torrance, CA) each connected on two hits for the Bulldogs.