Depth strong suit for Spratt

Versatile players let the Cougars’ coach play with her lineup.
Tuesday, March 7, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:40 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Columbia College softball coach Wendy Spratt can scan her roster and see one thing: depth.

Spratt said this season is the first that the team does not have a set lineup at this point in the season.

“We just have a lot of people vowing for many different positions,” Spratt said. “This past weekend we had only four players start each game. We can just put different people in at different times and still be strong.”

The Cougars went 2-2 this weekend at the Evangel Tournament in Springfield, improving their record to 4-2.

The Cougars have six players that can play in the outfield or at first base, second base, shortstop or third base. Three others can play catcher.

Spratt said another big advantage this year has been practicing outside as much as they have.

“By this time of the year, we usually are only outside three or four times,” Spratt said. “But this year, we have been outside three or four weeks.”

Spratt said this has helped her team adapt to live pitching. By practicing outside, the players are able to experience things in a game-like situation. With everything from the wind blowing in from the outfield and holding up a home run, to the unexpected hops that a ball might take on the infield.

“Usually we have to take a lot of ground balls inside,” Spratt said. “It is just not the same. Being outside brings more aspects to the game that we can work on. “

Spratt said this will also help her team as it starts play in the American Midwest Conference at 2 p.m. today against McKendree College (3-5).

Spratt said she is happy to be playing against the Bearcats in the Cougars’ home opener.

“Mckendree, along with William Woods, is one of our toughest opponents this year in the conference,” Spratt said. “We play them both at home and that is a huge advantage to us. Home field advantage is always a good thing to have.”

Most coaches have their lineups figured out a day a head of the game. But Spratt said that with the depth she has, she won’t make today’s lineup until right before game time.

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