After Columbia College lost its first American Midwest Conference game, it relied on a case of temporary amnesia to erase lingering feelings.
The Cougars made a conscious effort to forget their dismal performance in the first game and dominated the second in splitting a doubleheader with William Woods on Friday at Columbia College.
Columbia College, ranked No. 7 in the NAIA, lost the first 5-4, but came out with renewed confidence and won the second 9-5.
Columbia College coach Wendy Spratt said the Cougars couldn’t dwell on the first game because it was in the past.
“We talked about just letting the first game go,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything about it. It was gone and it was done. Let’s go out and take the field like we normally do and play our game, and we did.”
The Cougars went down in order in the first inning of the second game, but came back and scored at least one run in each of the next six innings.
Columbia College (29-6, 9-1) appeared to hit best with two outs. The best example of this clutch hitting came in the sixth inning when the Cougars scored four runs on four hits.
Cindy Fotti followed an Amanda Hodge’s fly out with a single up the middle and then stole second. After Megan Kuntze popped out, it looked as if the No. 17 Owls (25-12, 4-2) would escape unscathed.
Back-to-back home runs to left field by twins Amy and Anna Seipp seemed to faze William Woods pitcher Samantha Frevert, a former Hickman star. She allowed an RBI double to Heather Lang after a Krista Viefhaus walk.
The Cougars had a chance to increase their lead, but a Kerri Gapka strikeout ended the inning and the Cougars led 8-2.
“The difference in the second game is that we were very selective with our hitting,” Spratt said. “We stayed back, waited for it and drove it.”
The Seipps hit back-to-back home runs for the second time this season.
“Usually we pump each other up,” Anna Seipp said. “She gets mad if I do something or vice versa. So it’s good to know she is right behind me. It’s a lot of fun.”
Gapka struck out six times in the doubleheader, but pitched effectively for the Cougars in the second game. She got into trouble, though, in the seventh inning when she allowed three runs on four hits and a walk.
Gapka (14-3) said she doesn’t let her hitting affect her pitching.
“When I’m not hitting, it is obviously in the back of my mind,” she said. “I’m a pitcher and I have to make sure I don’t bring that back out on the mound. The game of softball is all mental and you have to make sure you stick to whatever you are doing at that moment.”
Despite the Cougars’ lackluster play in the first game, they almost won it. They trailed 5-1 entering the seventh inning and appeared ready to accept the defeat after Cindy Fotti and Megan Kuntze grounded out.
Anna Seipp’s single to left field, though, started a string of five consecutive hits and the Cougars closed the gap to 5-4. With runners on first and second, Gapka had a chance to be the hero, but struck out.
Spratt said her team couldn’t recover from the early deficit.
“We got down when they scored,” she said. “That is very uncharacteristic of this team. We didn’t really bounce back and it felt like they were one step ahead of us. We didn’t respond well.”
Cougars ace Monica Mueller (15-3) took the loss. She allowed five runs on eight hits and four walks.
Ashley Perrigo led the Cougars with six hits and four RBIs. Lang hit four doubles and finished with five hits.