Poets stay alive in SCIAC Championships; Upset No. 1 seed Redlands 5-1

Poets stay alive in SCIAC Championships; Upset No. 1 seed Redlands 5-1

Photos by : Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

REDLANDS, Calif. – For the first time in six appearances in the SCIAC Post Season Tournament the Whittier College softball team have now advanced to the second day of the tournament after knocking off the Bulldogs of the University of Redlands 5-1 who were the top seed in the tournament and ranked No. 13 in Div. III.    

In the second game on the afternoon however the Poets dropped a tough 5-2 decision to Claremont-M-S dropping their tournament record to 1-1 forcing them to take on Redlands tomorrow morning at 10am in an elimination game to see who will face Claremont-M-S at 12:15pm.

The champion of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which begin May 10.

The No. 22 Athenas of Claremont-M-S highlighted the softball postseason tournament by staying atop the winners' section of the double-elimination bracket with a pair of wins.  Second-seeded CMS fired off 14 hits en route to a 9-2 victory over No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer and then made the most of opportunities in a 5-2 decision over No. 4 Whittier College to cap off Friday's action.

Game 1 (No. 4 Whittier – 5, No. 1 Redlands – 1)

Whittier started off the Championships with a surprise 5-1 upset of the top-seeded Bulldogs, sending Redlands to the bottom half of the bracket.  The Poets pushed runs across the plate in four different innings, with Redlands' lone score coming due to an illegal pitch.

Whittier and Redlands swapped runs in the first but the Bulldogs saw the Poets tack on runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings behind two fielders choices, a Jordan Learn single down the left field line, and an RBI drive to right field from Alexandra Flores.

Jessica Rosnack got the nod on the mound for the Poets and went 7.0 strong innings giving up one run on six hits, while striking out three in the win.      

Learn contributed a 3-4 performance with one RBI, while senior Nikki Mendoza and freshman Emi Shimamoto provided two hits each at the top of Whittier's lineup.

The Bulldogs gave the Poets a scare on two separate occasions when they got the bases loaded twice but were unable to convert leaving a total of 11 runners stranded. 

Game 2 (No. 2 CMS – 5, No. 4 Whittier – 2)

In the second game of the SCIAC Championships Whittier dropped a tough 5-2 decision to CMS ranked No. 22 in Div. III.  Claremont jumped out in front in the second inning after plating four runs behind a solo shot from King to left, a Banducci single down the left field line, and a Palmer double to left center that brought in two. 

Whittier replied in their half of the second though with a run but saw CMS add another run in the third behind a Nordhoff single.  In the fifth Whittier made a run but was only able to get one run across leaving runners in scoring position. 

CMS's Schultz pitched a complete game and gave up one earned run on nine hits and stopped the Poet threats in the sixth and seventh to preserve the three run victory. 

Courtney DeLano started on the mound for the Poets but lasted 2.1 innings after she surrendered five runs on five hits.  She gave way to Anna Cade who pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless softball to go with three strikeouts.

Whittier was led on offense by Mendoza and Samantha Mellano who each finished 2-4, while Flores finished 2-3 with a run batted in.