Columbia College softball adjusts to weather, location changes in doubleheader

Friday, April 19, 2013 | 10:12 p.m. CDT; updated 4:36 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 20, 2013
The Columbia College softball team played a doubleheader against Missouri Baptist University on Friday at American Legion Park. Columbia College lost the first game 6-3 and won the second 13-1.

COLUMBIA — Through the speaker's blaring music and the blanketed fans' intermittent cheers, you hear a sound.

It's faint, almost eerie.

It's the whistling of the wind, which blows throughout the Columbia College softball doubleheader against Missouri Baptist on Friday.

Bats rattle in the dugout. Equipment falls to the ground. Bat bags tumble in various directions. There's no telling where things will end up.

But Columbia College knew just what to do.

Well, at least in Game 2.

"We haven't had a lot of chance to work on wind," senior Chelsie Crain said. The cold and rain have kept the team inside.

It's been like this all season for the Cougars, who've had to adjust to several weather-related schedule changes and conditions. In fact, Friday's game was originally supposed to be the last regular season home game for Columbia College and would honor the team's seniors.

But rain moved a doubleheader against Benedictine University to Monday and moved senior night right along with it.

And besides, Friday's games weren't even at the Cougars' home field, Antimi Black Field in Cosmopolitan Park. They were at Legion Field, where Stephens College calls home, because of supposedly better playing conditions.

Just another thing for Columbia College to adjust to.

The Cougars struggled at first, losing Game 1, 8-6.

There was water in the outfield, senior Lauren Berkbuegler said, and the wind made it hard to judge where the balls would go in the outfield.

In the dugout, the Cougars stood with windbreakers on, hoods up. And if the hoods weren't up, the unforgiving wind gave them a boost. Papers from the scorekeepers' table flew into the air and slapped the nets surrounding the field.

Eventually, Columbia College figured the wind out. They played to right field, where the balls usually ended up. With two consecutive home runs by sophomore Brittany Tjarks and junior Marli Hayes in the fifth inning of Game 2, the Cougars ended it there, winning 13-1 in five innings.

"Heads up!" fans shouted as a fly ball shot out of the field, aided by powerful gusts.

They might not have completely figured the elements out, but just like their entire season, the Cougars adjusted.

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