CMU takes four from Chadron State
If ever there was a time to sweep a series, it was Sunday for the Colorado Mesa softball team.
The Mavericks, who won or split every Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference series this season except one, had to sweep Chadron State at Bergman Field to lock down the No. 2 seed in this week’s conference tournament.
“We hit a little lull in that fourth game,” CMU coach Candace Abrams said. “That’s something we’ve been talking about all year, overcoming that hump, overcoming that hump. Something finally clicked, and that’s all that matters.”
Game 1 was no problem. Jessica Severinsen hit two home runs, Makayla Kovac hit one and Cori Shreeves threw a four-hit shutout with five strikeouts in a 7-0 win.
Game 2, however, was a different story. The Mavs scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a tense 2-1 win.
For six innings, the Mavericks hit balls right at the Eagles, who scored one run in the third off Severinsen and were trying to salvage at least one game.
Mesa stranded runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The tying run was thrown out at the plate in the fifth. The Mavs left the bases loaded in the sixth.
“In that sixth inning we were really pushing with bases loaded to get that run,” Lisa Pille said. “It didn’t happen, so in the seventh, we relaxed a little bit and did what we knew we could do.”
Ah, yes. The seventh inning.
On senior day, Pille, the Mavs’ senior third baseman, said “enough,” lacing a leadoff double to the fence in left-center.
Senior center fielder Camille Brimhall put down a perfect sacrifice bunt in front of the plate. As a bonus, an errant throw allowed her to reach first as Pille wheeled into third.
With one out, senior second baseman Taylor Gross drove a double to the fence in left-center, scoring Pille with the tying run and sending Brimhall to third.
“I’m just looking for a good pitch,” Gross said. “A flyout, anything out to the grass to have her score. That’s all I was looking for.”
Nicole Robinson ended it with a line-drive single to center as Brimhall raced home with the winning run.
Mesa (26-15-1, 24-11-1 RMAC) enters the conference tournament at 1 p.m. Thursday in Golden as the No. 2 seed against Fort Lewis (19-22, 17-19).
“It took all season but we finally got four,” Abrams said with a big grin.
Gross, who hits leadoff for Mesa, isn’t sure, but she thinks some of her power this weekend came from the four seniors’ uniform style, with full-length pants instead of gathered at the knee.
“It was a senior thing. We’re all super close and we wanted to do something together,” said Gross, who was the only one to wear her pants long in both games.
“No one ever does this and it looks a little funny, but I had to go with it. I want to wear them down forever. This is where my bat’s been!”
The seventh inning was a matter of manufacturing runs.
“Just manufacturing and trying to find a way to move people over one more base and get to the top of our lineup and our big hitters back to the plate,” Abrams said. “That’s our goal, just get the next hitter to the plate.
“If you are struggling, get the next hitter to the plate. Move the runner with a bunt, a ground ball, a sac fly. We had several of those today and that’s all we can ask for.”
Pille’s final at-bat at Bergman Field was something to remember.
“It’s kind of bittersweet leaving this, but it feels a little better to leave it with a base hit,” she said. “And we got a sweep … finally!”