Megan Kuntze, Columbia College’s leadoff hitter, lined out to the shortstop in her first at bat.
Her next trip to the plate was more productive though, for she doubled to right field.
It was still the first inning.
Columbia College used a mix of timely hitting, shutout pitching and solid defense to sweep a doubleheader against Missouri Valley on Sunday at Columbia College.
The Cougars won the first game 3-0 and the second 9-0.
“I thought we came out and dominated today,” Columbia College coach Wendy Spratt said. “We hit well, pitched well and played the best defense I’ve seen this season.”
The Cougars, ranked No. 13 in the NAIA, scored early in both games, but the offensive outburst to begin the second game was nearly flawless.
After Kuntze’s line out, Columbia College sent 10 more hitters to the plate in the first inning and capitalized on two doubles, four singles and a pair of walks. The Cougars also stole six bases.
Kuntze’s double gave the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
“I wish we could come out and do that everytime,” Spratt said. “It was just a matter of we had good at-bats and swung at good pitches and hit the ball hard and made things happen.”
Kerri Gapka’s performance led the Cougars (3-1). As the starting pitcher in the second game, she got the win, allowing three hits while striking out six. As the designated hitter in both games, she went 3-for-5, scored two runs and had two RBIs.
The double duty doesn’t faze her though.
“I’ve been able to adapt to that,” Gapka said. “I really like hitting, especially as a pitcher. It keeps me warm between innings since I can’t pitch, I stay warm by running around the bases.”
The bottom of Columbia College’s order played well, for No. 8 hitter Chris Schoonover and No. 9 hitter Cindy Fotti combined for five hits and three RBIs.
Monica Mueller’s pinpoint pitching dominated the Vikings (3-4) in the first game. Mueller, who continually worked the outside corner of the plate, struck out nine and walked one.
Her composure was tested, though, when Missouri Valley put runners on second and third with one out in the fourth inning on singles from Cassie Chun-Ming and Jaushlyn Mansinon. Mueller responded by striking out Kayla Bailey and Sarah Kolokotsas to end the threat.
“I just keep my focus and bear down a lot more than when there is nobody on,” Mueller said.
Spratt said the extra time spent working in the offseason is paying dividends for the Cougars.
“Even when we were getting out, we were hitting the ball hard,” she said. “Really, I think this is the best we’ve ever been prepared.”
Although Missouri Valley lost by a total of 12 runs, coach Kyle Mason stayed optimistic.
“It’s early in the season and Columbia College is a quality team so you use that as a measuring device,” he said. “We would have liked to play better and we do play better ball than this, but there are a lot of adjustments we are going to make out of this game.”