“It’s a chilly, windy day here at Dodger Stadium,” Quintin Norris said before the first pitch was thrown Tuesday at Cougar Softball Field.
Norris set his video camera in the spot that he wanted it and checked his scorebook to make sure that he had the players’ names correct before Columbia College (4-4) took on McKendree (5-5) in a double-header.
Norris records all the home games for Columbia College coach Wendy Spratt. While recording, he likes to do the play-by-play call.
“I started five years ago for the girls’ basketball coach,” Norris said. “A year later they wanted me to do the softball after they heard about my commentary. I just do the commentary to make it fun.”
Norris constantly makes references to the Dodgers, his favorite team, and the Cardinals during the play-by-play.
Every time the shortstop makes a diving play, Norris makes a reference to Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith.
“Oh, what a miraculous stop by the Wizard,” Norris said as Cougars shortstop Ashley Perrigo made a diving stop and then threw across the diamond to throw out the runner. “That Ozzie is one good player.”
Then came the fifth-inning stretch — since there are only seven innings — and Norris suddenly turned into Harry Caray by standing up and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
“I do that to get the crowd into the game,” Norris said.
The fans got to enjoy the song twice during the double-header Tuesday.
The Cougars didn’t start conference play the way they would have liked, losing both games to the Bearcats 6-4 and 3-2.
McKendree jumped on starter Heather Robey’s pitching early in the first game and took a 5-0 lead.
After Kendra Koch came in for Robey after two and 2-3 innings, Koch practically shut down the Bearcats, allowing one run in four and 1-3 innings.
The Cougars clawed back into the game in the third, with a three-run home run from Sarah Moreau. The Cougars scored a run in the fifth to cut the lead to one, but the Bearcats added an insurance run in the top of the sixth to seal the victory.
Spratt said that Robey didn’t play her best.
“Once a team gets to know the pitcher, they get on her,” Spratt said. “It’s all mental then.”
In the second game, Katie McMahon had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning, but lost it on a two-out RBI double by Jessica McDonald. The teams swapped runs and were tied at 2 at the end of the seventh inning. Rachel Ostertag scored the winning run on Andrea Hawkins’ two-out single in the ninth inning.
The Cougars did many things wrong according to Spratt.
“We had a lot of people on base,” Spratt said. “They need to score. We need the key hits. Our batters were just to anxious at the plate today.”