Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Whittier College Softball team opened up the NCAA Division III West Regional Friday with a doubleheader beating Claremont-M-S 9-1 in 5-Innings before falling 6-5 to No. 5 Linfield College.
The win against the Athenas is the fifth straight for the Purple & Gold against Claremont-M-S and hands Whittier College their first win in the Division III West Regional in program history. The last time Whittier earned a trip to the National Championships was back in 2015 but they were knocked out following a pair of losses to Texas-Tyler (9-2) and Texas Lutheran (4-3).
Whittier continues with their season as they improve to 24-19-1, 16-12 SCIAC. They have now moved into a tie for No. 5 All-Time in the Whittier College record books for most wins in a single season. The record is 29, which was set back in 1986.
Game 1 (Claremont-M-S; W, 9-1 (5-Innings)
Whittier continues to be red-hot in the month of May holding a 5-2 record with three of the wins coming against Claremont-M-S. They are now 5-0 against the Athenas since April 27.
The difference in the game was the 2nd Inning where WC put up six runs on three hits, while using an error to jump on top 7-0. Jade Sanchez (Whittier, Calif.) got things going in the top half of the 1st with a two out double down the left field line that scored Brittany Attaway (Claremont, Calif.). The very next inning Whittier rolled getting the bases loaded with Emily Facio (Chino, Calif.) singling to the pitcher, Sierra Rodriguez (Whittier, Calif.) drawing a walk and Brianna MaGee (Torrance, Calif.) getting hit by a pitch.
Kacey Whitney (Cypress, Calif.) then came up clutch with a single to right center right in front of a passed ball that allowed another run to come in. Attaway then reached on an error by the shortstop allowing the third run to come in and Naomi Martinez (Marina Del Rey, Calif.) capped off the inning with a three-run shot to dead center.
But Whittier wasn't done there as they put up a pair in the 3rd that put the game out of reach. Facio got on with a single up the middle and was followed by a Rodriguez double to left center and a MaGee single up the middle.
Amanda Melodia (Placentia, Calif.) got the win going a complete game giving up a run on three hits. She improves to 8-3.
Martinez was 2-for-2 scoring once and driving in three. Facio was 2-for-3 coming in twice and Whitney was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Game 2 (No. 5 Linfield; L, 6-5)
In the second game on the day Whittier was matched up with the top seed in their section, No. 5 Linfield College. The Purple & gold fell behind early but managed to make a late surge before seeing their four-game winning streak snapped.
Both teams added runs in the 1st Inning. Whittier earned theirs following a double from Whitney and an Attaway single to left field. The Wildcats however added two the very next inning to go on top 3-1.
The lead moved to 6-1 in the 5th following a three spot put up by Linfield. But that lead soon diminished as Whittier added one that same inning with Attaway driving a sacrifice fly to center that plated MaGee. Then in the 7th, Whittier put together one final push bringing across three runs on three hits to cut the deficit to one.
Rodriguez started things off with a walk and then moved over to third following a Whitney single through the right side and an Attaway walk. Following a bases loaded fly-out by Sanchez that put two outs on the board, Martinez came up clutch with a single to left center and was joined by Jannelle Ha (Arcadia, Calif.) who singled to center moving the score to 6-5.
With the game-tying run in scoring position, the comeback would stall as Ashlei Sanchez (San Dimas, Calif.) would line out to the third-baseman allowing Linfield to escape with the one-run victory.
Sam Casanas (La Habra, Calif.) picked up the loss going 4.2 Innings giving up six runs (four earned) on nine hits. She drops to 9-8. Whitney was a perfect 4-for-4 on the game scoring twice. MaGee was 2-for-4 with a run scored and Hayley Wishner (Chino, Calif.) who returned from injury was 2-for-3.
With the win, Whittier has advanced to this afternoon's game to play at 2:30 against an opponent to be determined, while CMS will have to beat Linfield to stay alive and face the Poets at 2:30.