Photos by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
Video by: Steven Castro
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Softball team was crowned the 2019 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Post Season Tournament Champions Sunday following a long day where they had to comeback against Claremont-M-S before needing a sweep of Pomona-Pitzer.
After a walk-off win 9-8 over Claremont-M-S to start their morning, the Purple & Gold needed to pick up two wins against Pomona-Pitzer in order to pull off the program's second Tournament Title. At the end of the day Whittier managed to pull off the most incredible SCIAC Tournament run in the conferences history. They came in as the No. 4 seed and managed to knock out the top seeded Athenas of Claremont-M-S before sweeping the No. 2 seed, Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens to end their epic run towards an AQ Bid into the NCAA Division III National Championships.
Whittier had to play a tough five games over three days with three of them coming by a one-run differential. They finish the season 23-18-1, 16-12 SCIAC. They ended up winning four of five in the Month of May and finish the year off winning 13 of their last 15.
Game 1 (W, 5-3)
Whittier went on top 2-0 adding runs in the 2nd and 3rd. They got their first run with Jade Sanchez (Whittier, Calif.) doubling to left and Jannelle Ha (Arcadia, Calif.) tripling to center. The very next inning they added another this time on a double steal. Kacey Whitney (Cypress, Calif.), who had reached on a single to the pitcher got stuck attempting to take second and was tagged out in a pickle but the heads up base running by Sierra Rodriguez (Whittier, Calif.) who was on third managed to come in to score before the tag.
PP got one back in the bottom half of the 3rd but saw WC stretch their lead to 4-1 following a two spot in the 4th coming on four hits. With one out and Sanchez on second base after reaching on a bunt single, Ha connected for a base hit into center. A double steal put two runners into scoring position and after that Whittier capitalized with Natalia Sanchez (Chino Hills, Calif.) reaching on a fielders choice that plated one right in front of an Emily Facio (Chino, Calif.) double to left center.
After a scoreless 5th, the Sagehens managed to get two back in the 6th to get within one at 4-3. Sanchez added an insurance run in the top half of the 7th with a double to left center that scored Brittany Attaway (Claremont, Calif.) and this would be enough as the Poets' defense shutdown PP 1-2-3 in their final at-bats forcing a second game.
Melodia threw lights out in game one going a complete game giving up three runs on five hits. She picked up her 7th win on the season. Whitney and Sanchez each provided 3-for-4 efforts. Sanchez also added two runs scored and an RBI. Ha was 2-for-4 scoring once and driving in another and Facio was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Game 2 (W, 4-3)
It was another low scoring affair in Game 2 but this time with the game coming down to the final at-bat. PP trailed by two 4-2 in the 7th and managed to bring across one and had runners on the corners with one out but couldn't bring them in as Alexis Vargas (Pomona, Calif.) forced Hong and Deatharage into fly-outs that ended the game sending the Poets to the NCAA Division III Championships.
For the second straight game Whittier struck first this time with a solo run in their opening at-bats coming on two-outs off the bat of Sanchez who singled through the left side.
Pomona-Pitzer tied things up in the 3rd but in that same inning WC was able to extend their lead to 4-1 following three runs on a pair of hits and an error. Rodriguez who reached on a single through the left side came in on a passed ball and Sanchez drove in the other reaching on an error by the first baseman allowing Whitney to score. The final run came in off the bat of Ha who drove a sacrifice fly to deep left that plated Attaway.
In the 5th, PP got one back with Hong singling through the left side moving the score to 4-2 and despite cutting the deficit to one and having an opportunity, the Sagehens were unable to complete the comeback allowing Whittier to complete yet another upset win.
Sam Casanas (La Habra, Calif.) threw the game of the season giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. She improves to 9-7. Vargas who tossed the final 0.2 innings picked up the save retiring the two batters she faced.
Whittier awaits their opponent in the NCAA Division III West Regional. More information on where the Poets will be traveling and who they will play against in their pod will be announced this week.