The fourth-seeded Whittier softball team secured the 2019 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament title with wins of 5-3 and and 4-3 over No. 2 Pomona-Pitzer Sunday afternoon on the campus of top-seed and tournament host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS).
With the win, Whittier improves to 23-18-1 overall and earns the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. This is the Poets' second SCIAC Postseason Tournament title since 2015.
Game 5: No. 4 Whittier def. No. 1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), 9-8
Needing to resume game 5 early Sunday morning due to darkness on Saturday evening, Whittier held a 5-4 advantage over CMS in the bottom of the sixth inning as play picked back up. The Poets added two runs as Natalie Sanchez and Janelle Ha provided RBI base hits to give Whittier a 7-4 lead.
In the top of the seventh, CMS responded with a trio of runs as Maddie Valdez, Lauren Richards and Rachel Perley singled in runs to give the Athenas an 8-7 edge. In the bottom of the frame, Jade Sanchez singled in Brianna MaGee with the game-tying run, before Natalie Sanchez poked a walk-off RBI single down the left field line scoring Brittany Attaway to send the Poets to a championship contest against Pomona-Pitzer.
Game 6: No. 4 Whittier def. No. 2 Pomona-Pitzer, 5-3
Whittier got off to a fast start against Pomona-Pitzer in the championship contest, scoring a run in both the second and third innings. Ha tripled in a run in the top of the second, before a pickle situation allowed Sierra Rodriguez to score in the third.
The Sagehens cut the deficit in half in the home half of the frame as Katy Hurley delivered a scrafice fly allowing Izzy Deatherage to score to make it 2-1. The Poets extended their advantage to 4-1 when Natalie Sanchez reached on a fielder's choice that sent Jade Sanchez home. Emily Facio later laced a double to left field that brought in Whittier's fourth run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Baleigh McCuskey hit a sacrifice fly, and Olivia Campion tagged a run-scoring single through the left side to once again pull Pomona-Pitzer to within one at 4-3. That's as close as it could get as Whittier used a Jade Sanchez RBI double to extend its lead to 5-3 and hung on to force a game seven in the double-elimination tournament. Amanda Melodia earned the win in the circle for the Poets.
Game 7: No. 4 Whittier def. No. 2 Pomona-Pitzer, 4-3
Whittier once again got off to an early lead as MaGee scored on a single through the left side off the bat of Jade Sanchez in the bottom of the first. Liz Rodarte evened the game at 1-1 for Pomona-Pitzer as she collected an RBI double in the top of the third stanza.
A three-run third inning gave the Poets a 4-1 lead as RBI's from Jade Sanchez and Ha highlighted the frame for Whittier.
Pomona-Pitzer kept it close as Kristen Hong delivered an RBI single in the top of the fifth, before a Rodarte base-hit to left pushed Campion home to pull the Sagehens to within one at 4-3 with one out in the seventh. A foul out to shallow left gave the Poets two outs in the frame, before a clutch catch by Tournament MVP Kacey Whitney in right field allowed Whittier to seal the 4-3 victory.