COLUMBIA — Tiffany Urwiler winds up and pitches the ball directly into Kelsey Jacques' mitt.
"Nice," Jacques says, satisfied with the throw.
Columbia College defeated Stephens College in both games of the doubleheader Wednesday at Legion Field.
In each game, the Cougars shut out the Stars in six innings, winning 8-0 in Game 1 and 9-0 in Game 2. The Cougars improved to 15-14 overall and 10-2 in the American Midwest Conference.
Freshman pitcher Tiffany Urwiler allowed only three hits and struck out seven in six innings, in Game 1. Junior Kristin Eiken led the offense with three hits and three RBIs, including a two-run home run. Juniors Jamie Holmes and Whitni Howell and sophomore Taylor Atwood each had two hits, and senior Chelsie Crain added a solo home run.
Freshman pitcher Amber Boehme allowed just one hit over six innings and had a season-high 10 strikeouts in Game 2. Junior Marli Hayes drove in five runs and hit a career-high three home runs in the game. Holmes, Eiken and senior Karina Veit each added two hits.
The Cougars will face Missouri Baptist University in a doubleheader at 3 p.m. Thursday at Antimi Black Field in Cosmopolitan Park. Seniors Veit, Crain and Lauren Berkbuelger will be recognized along with those who contributed to the Adopt-A-Cougar program.
But no one else sees the satisfactory pitch. No one is even watching the freshmen play.
That's because they're watching the game, happening on the field next to the one on which Urwiler and Jacques are practicing. They do this at other games: go off to an empty field to practice some pitches. They look over to the game occasionally, but this time, they don't have much to worry about.
After winning Game 1 of its doubleheader Wednesday against Stephens College 8-0 in six innings, Columbia College is already up 3-0 after the first inning of Game 2.
And it's easy to guess this from the Cougars' series of loud cheers, not hard to hear from where Urwiler and Jacques are practicing.
It was clear that Columbia College was the dominant team without even looking at the scoreboard. The Cougars' catches were more secure, its pitches more powerful.
But they were dominating more than the competition.
The game was played at Stephens' home field, Legion Field at American Legion Park, but Columbia College fans made up a majority of the crowd.
The Columbia College dugout was always active, the players performing rehearsed cheers whether their team was batting or fielding. These included shouts of "Eik Eik baby" for junior Kristin Eiken and three cheers for junior Marli Hayes after her home run, which went something like, "Woo, woo, woo ah-woo, Marli!"
The Stephens dugout was calm and quiet in comparison, the players often sitting while watching their team play. The Stars coach, Killian Kramer, seemed the most vocal member of the team.
Even off-hand, weather-related comments in the Columbia College dugout were injected with personality, such as the term "McSteamy" when the sun started coming out and songs of "It's raining men" when the sky looked more ominous.
As the game continued, the Stephens players became more easily heard, trying their hand at some cheers.
But the Cougars were not about to be outdone.
Right after a cheer from Stephens, Columbia College senior Lauren Berkbuegler started a chant for "Eikie" as Eiken stepped up to bat. Junior Taylor Richter laughed as the chant got louder and louder. Berkbuegler didn't seem to care if others thought she was crazy.
The Cougars won the second game 9-0, but clearly they wanted to dominate in more ways than one.