COLUMBIA — Columbia College freshman Valerie Teter stepped to the plate and quickly fell behind 0-2.
Then, when she was about to step back into the batter’s box, a stiff wind blew dirt from the infield into her face.
Teter asked the home-plate umpire for timeout to get the dirt out of her eyes.
After a few moments of blinking, Teter stepped back into the box, worked the count to 3-2, and then smacked a two-run home run to deep left field.
The home run gave Columbia College an early 2-run lead in the second game of its Friday doubleheader against conference rival William Woods. Columbia College went on to win the game 6-2 after winning the first contest 4-1.
The temperature dipped into the 40s and the wind continually whipping dirt into the faces of hitters. Columbia College coach Wendy Spratt said she was impressed with how well her team handled the conditions.
“They’re driven,” Spratt said. “I’ve had teams that faltered in the cold before and this team nothing phases them. They go out. They play the game, and it’s ours for the taking.”
Columbia College and William Woods entered Friday tied in American Midwest Conference at 5-1. The wins brought Columbia College one step closer to its goal of winning the conference championship.
Friday was senior day for Columbia College. It was the last home conference game for Columbia College’s two seniors, pitcher Katie McMahon and center fielder Lindsey Williams.
“That’s what everybody wants on their last day on their home field is to get a win,” McMahon said. “Especially against William Woods. They’re kind of our conference rival so it was nice.”
McMahon was the winning pitcher in the first game on Friday, allowing just four hits and one run. The win moved McMahon’s career record on the mound to 43-24. She was the conference and Region V pitcher of the year last season.
Williams went 0-for-4 in the first game, but led off the second game with a double, scoring on Teter’s home run. Williams now has 208 career hits.
“(Williams) is one of those players that you get once in a great while,” Spratt said. “She’s got everything. She’s got speed. She’s got a great arm. She’s got a great bat.”
With seven freshman on this year’s squad, Spratt said that Williams has also become the team leader.
“The thing she does that’s most important this year, she sets the tone,” Spratt said. “She’s the one, besides myself, that goes out and says this is our game and we’re going to win.”
In addition to their individual achievements, the seniors have done a lot of winning. The Cougars are a combined 139-64 during Williams’ and McMahon’s careers at Columbia College. The Cougars finished tied for seventh at the NAIA National Tournament during their freshman year in 2005.
“Winning is kind of a habit just like anything else,” Spratt said. “I expect them to go out and work hard and do those sorts of things and winning comes along with that.”