COLUMBIA — It would have been Valerie Teter’s third perfect game of the season, and Columbia College softball coach Wendy Spratt was very much aware of it.
“I knew she was going for a perfect game,” Spratt said about her senior ace.
But Spratt never mentioned it during the first game of the Cougars' doubleheader against Stephens on Wednesday at Cougar Softball Field.
The silence was broken between the fourth and fifth innings, when an announcer from a radio station broadcasting the game asked Cindy Fotti, the Columbia College sports information director, if this would be Teter's third perfect game.
“You just jinxed it,” Fotti said.
After Teter (11-6) retired the Stars' first batter of the fifth, the next hit a single, ending Teter's bid for perfection. Two more outs put a close on the Cougars' 10-0 run-rule shortened victory.
Teter said she didn't blame the announcer. She said she first realized the situation when taking the mound at the start of the fifth.
“I kind of jinxed myself,” Teter said. "The first two perfect games, I went out and didn't even realize I had them, but when I got out there I realized that no one had been on base all day."
Spratt said she looked at things differently.
“I don’t think it’s a jinx,” Spratt said. “It was just a pitch in the wrong spot.”
The Cougars (17-10) won both games, beating Stephens 2-0 in the second game in their return to American Midwest Conference play.
The first home game after a long road trip proved therapeutic for freshman Kristin Eiken’s bat when she hit her first home run of her college career.
“It felt good off the bat,” Eiken said. “Haven’t been hitting the way I’d like, and the slump made me want to try harder.”
Columbia College went 2-4 in its weekend road trip that gave the Cougars a chance to play the NAIA's top-ranked team. Teter said the games were confidence builders for the newcomers.
“After playing California Baptist, one of the girls said, ‘I didn’t know they were the No. 1 team,’” Teter said.
Despite falling from No. 12 to No. 22 in the NAIA rankings, the Cougars remain confident. An upcoming doubleheader against No. 18 Williams Baptist (18-6) gives Columbia College the chance to claim the top spot in the AMC standings. The first game will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Cougar Softball Field.