Columbia College’s dormant bats finally came out of hibernation.
The Cougars, scoreless for 21 innings, scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Missouri Baptist 1-0 in the first round of the American Midwest Conference Tournament on Tuesday at Columbia College.
The Cougars advanced to play William Woods at 9 a.m. today. The Cougars lost 5-4 to the Owls on April 9.
Columbia College (38-9), ranked No. 8 in the NAIA, squandered multiple scoring opportunities, but capitalized in the seventh inning.
Felisha Richards led off with a walk and moved to second on a Chris Schoonover sacrifice bunt. After a Megan Kuntze flyout to right field, Anna Seipp drove in the run with a line drive to right center field that rolled to the fence.
Although Columbia College stranded seven runners, Cougars coach Wendy Spratt said she wasn’t concerned.
“The trait of this team generally is to score a run in the first inning, and I like that much better,” she said. “I knew eventually we’d get it done.”
Seipp finished with three hits, including two triples.
Spratt said she hopes the other hitters take notice.
“Anna really had a great day,” Spratt said. “She was seeing the ball well and she was waiting for her pitch and driving it. I think everyone else will come around.”
Seipp said the Cougars need to hit if they hope to continue their postseason.
“Our offense was a little rusty,” she said. “We haven’t had a game in over a week. Hopefully our hitting comes back because we aren’t going to get very far without it.”
The Spartans (16-29) also missed a number of chances to score. Their best opportunity came in the second inning when Melissa Schroll and Jackie Evans hit back-to-back singles. The runners advanced to second and third on Jodi Obrecht’s groundout but failed to score when pitcher Monica Mueller struck out the next two batters.
“As far as offensive hitting, you really have to come up big with runners on,” Spartans coach Kelley Brent said. “Against good teams like (Columbia College), you can’t leave runners on.”
Mueller’s dominant pitching kept the Cougars in the game. She allowed three hits and struck out eight, including four straight in the sixth and seventh innings.
Mueller (20-5) said she hopes the Cougars can start giving her more run support.
“It’s frustrating,” she said. “You can’t say it’s not, but it is because you’re doing your best. You know the other girls are doing their best, but it’s just not getting there.”
“Monica pitched great,” she said. “She comes out strong every day now and it would be nice if we could back her up with some runs.”
Spratt said Mueller’s outstanding pitching performance didn’t surprise her.
“I think she is getting better and better and better,” Spratt said. “Her rise ball has really come a long way. When you watch her, you can tell when it works real well because she’s got that big grin on her face.”