COLUMBIA— After playing to a 1-3 record against some of the top teams in the NAIA over the weekend at the Oklahoma City Tournament, the Columbia College softball team was looking to rebound against a lesser American Midwest Conference opponent.
But the Cougars knew that Hannibal-LaGrange presented a completely different challenge.
“We had to be careful,” senior Valerie Teter said. “They’re a good team, and you don’t want to let them sneak up and bite you.”
The Cougars (25-14, 11-3) avoided an upset on Wednesday at Cougar Softball Field, winning 7-1 and 4-1 in the AMC doubleheader against the Trojans (20-26, 4-12).
Columbia College jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of the first game and continued to score. The Cougars scored five more runs, including a RBI double from Teter.
Teter (17-7), who had been recovering from a sore back, pitched five no-hit innings and struck out eight to pick up the win for the Cougars. She was relieved by freshman Taylor Richter, who pitched the final two innings and allowed one run.
Columbia College coach Wendy Spratt said she removed Teter from the game to give Richter extra experience and rest Teter for the next game.
The plan worked, and not just on the mound. In the top of the first inning of the second game, Teter stepped to the plate and took a strike. But she sent the next pitch she saw sailing into deep left field, depositing the ball at the top of a small hill just beyond the fence and giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
“I would say she tater-ed that,” hitting coach Joe Henderson said from the dugout.
After that, Columbia College’s offense stalled until the top of the fifth. After two sacrifice flies to score two runs, freshman Marli Hayes came up with no runners on and two outs. Hayes took a wide stance and waited. A few moments later she sent the neon yellow ball flying over the wall in left center field.
“I was just looking for a hit,” Hayes said. “But the home run was a cherry topper.”
Hayes’ teammates met her as she crossed the plate, offering congratulations and a home run chant: “Tick, tick, boom!”
Hannibal-LaGrange's Kachina Hudson hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Trojans couldn't muster any more offense.
Teter, who recently won her third AMC pitcher of the week award, was credited with the win after pitching all seven innings and striking out 14.
Columbia College is set to play an AMC doubleheader against Harris Stowe State (4-16, 3-9) starting at 2 p.m. on Thursday in Lebanon, Ill.