Columbia College learned quickly how hard it is to be on top.
The Cougars (13-6) lost the first game of a doubleheader against McKendree (13-10) on Thursday in Lebanon, Ill. just two days after becoming the No. 12 team according to NAIA rankings. The 7-3 loss was punctuated by a three-inning effort by senior co-captain Valerie Teter (8-5) who was taken out of the game due to an injury.
“We got off to a rough start,” coach Wendy Spratt said. “Val can’t pitch to her potential with that injury. We’re going to go to the doctor and see what happens from there.”
But the news was not all bad for the Cougars. Senior Kacey Rehagen took over for Teter, pitching four innings and allowing two hits. The Cougars also tallied eight hits in the loss and Spratt was encouraged by their ability to get on base. The hits only translated to three runs that game, but the Cougars would get revenge in game two.
The Cougars began game two of their doubleheader with a hit parade, scoring eight runs in the first en route to an 11-1 victory. Sophomore Tori Gehlert hit a two-run homer in the second game after hitting the ball well all day. Gehlert attributed her success to the new bat in the Cougar dugout, a DeMarini CF4.
“Every time she gets to third she tells me she loves the new bat,” Spratt said.
Gehlert has not been the only member of the Cougars to express her affection for the new bat, and the confidence in the bat seemed to be helping. The 11 runs in the second game are the most the Cougars have scored all season.
Kacey Rehagen (5-1) got the start in the second game for the Cougars, filling in nicely while Teter was unable to throw. Gehlert said that the team knows that Teter can pitch much better than she had in the first game, but Rehagen helps cope with the temporary loss.
“Kacey stepped in and shut them down,” Gehlert said. “We’re confident that if (Teter) has to take more to recover that Kacey can fill in.”
The Cougars will travel back to Columbia for practice before heading off on a long trip to the west coast. The Cougars are set to play a doubleheader against Vanguard (18-12) at 2 p.m. on Monday in Costa Mesa, Calif.