The Columbia College softball team was one out away from beating No. 9 William Woods on Thursday in the second game of a doubleheader at Cougars Softball Field.
William Woods was trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, and after an error by Cougars first baseman Rachel Brawner, the Owls had runners on first and third base. With her hair blowing in her face because of the howling wind coming from right field, Cougars pitcher Heather Robey stared in at home plate. She wound up and fired, hoping that the ball would land squarely in the center of the catcher’s mitt. The ball never made it that far.
Instead, the ball connected off the end of Lindsey Skwira’s bat and sailed towards the gap in left field. It landed between Marcie McMahon and Lindsey Williams and rolled to the bottom of the fence in left field. Ashley Windmiller, the runner on first base for the Owls, put her head down and seemed to be running as fast as the wind was blowing once the ball left the bat. Coming down the third base line, with her helmet about to fall off, Windmiller slid feet first into home plate to give the Owls the 5-4 victory.
After the game the two teams met in the outfield with their coaches. The Owls were in left field and the Cougars were in right. But by the looks of it, one would think that they were on two different planets. With smiles on their faces, the Owls laughed, clappedand even danced while they were celebrating their come-from-behind win. The Cougars, however, seemed as if they were at a funeral. They sat in silence with their heads hung as they tried to grasp what had just happened.
The Owls (13-5) swept the Cougars, winning the first game 3-0. The first game was pitchers’ duel between Katie McMahon of the Cougars and Jennifer Golden of the Owls.
The game was scoreless going into the fifth, when after an error by Brawner, T.J. Quick hit a single to put the Owls up 1-0. Then in the sixth, the Cougars committed another error that gave the Owls another run to put them up 2-0. The Owls scored an insurance run in the seventh.
In the second game of the day, Cougars pitcher Heather Robey had a rough first inning, giving up two runs to give the Owls a 2-0 lead. The lead stuck until the fourth, when Marcie McMahon hit a two-run home run off of former Hickman star Samantha Frevert. The Cougars gained a 3-2 lead in the fifth and then added another run in the sixth to go up 4-2 before the Owls came back to win in the bottom of the seventh.
The Cougars started the season 4-2, but have slumped to 6-10 since. Cougars coach Wendy Spratt said errors are the reason, something that cost them on Thursday.
The Cougars committed five errors in the doubleheader that led to runs for the Owls.
“Part of it’s confidence and part of it is trying to find the right fit,” Spratt said. “We are putting a lot of different people at a lot of different positions trying to get the right combinations. This is a different team from the past, were just trying to piece it all together.”
The Cougars next play this weekend in Jefferson City in the William Woods Tournament. The Cougars will play three games on Saturday and then two on Sunday.