Monday was a tale of two games for Columbia College baseball.
The first was a tale of woe, as it suffered a resounding 8-2 defeat against an 0-3 Ottawa program that had received no votes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics baseball coaches’ Top 25 preseason poll, in which Columbia received 18 voting points.
The second was a tale of triumph, as it ran riot in a 15-9 victory against York College, a program that has already beaten two ranked teams in No. 16 Oklahoma City and No. 25 MidAmerica Nazarene.
In its first game of the day — also its first of the season — Columbia failed to keep Ottawa off of the scoreboard until the sixth.
After being put out with a 1-2-3 inning in their first visit to the plate of the season, the Cougars then conceded to the first batter they faced, as Ottawa’s Zachary Spradlin singled, stole second, made it to third on an error by Kole Fricken and then scored.
Behind early, Columbia failed to stop the bleeding and gave up two runs in three of its opening five innings and one in the other two.
The Cougars’ own scores came in the second and fifth, when they were 2-0 and 6-1 behind, respectively. Graduate student Dalton Bealmer homered in the second to open the Cougars’ scoring. The home run was Columbia’s only hit in the first four innings.
David Dell added the Cougars’ second run in the fifth inning, off of a Brad Prebay groundout.
Where Columbia struggled on offense against Ottawa, it thrived against York.
Amending their earlier loss, the Cougars put up 15 scores in a six-run rout of the Panthers, largely thanks Kendrick Delima’s massive night.
Delima, a senior from Curacao, had no hits in his three at-bats against Ottawa, but went a long way to making up for that with eight RBI and two runs from three hits against York.
Columbia conceded a run in the top of the first, but that would be the only time it trailed. It would answer with runs of its own in the first, before effectively ending the game in the third with a gargantuan 10-run inning.
The Panthers responded with six runs of their own across the fifth, sixth and seventh innings as the Cougars once again struggled to stop the opposition batters, but ultimately never threatened to overturn the lead the Cougars had built.
The Cougars recorded 12 total hits in 31 at-bats. Prebay scored three runs for the Cougars, while Delima, Kenny Piper, Dalton Bealmer and Tegan Woods each added two.
Columbia will play twice on Tuesday, first against Avila at 9:30 a.m. and then against Baker at 2:30 p.m. in Kansas City.
Narrow win gives Cougars softball winning record on opening weekend
After picking up two wins Saturday and dropping two Sunday, Columbia College softball had one matchup left to round out its trip to Texas.
With a 3-2 win Monday against St. Mary’s (Texas), the Cougars (3-2) secured a winning start to their season.
Efficiency was key to Columbia’s win.
Like in their Sunday loss to the Javelinas, the Cougars struggled to get hits. Unlike Sunday, they capitalized on the chances they were afforded.
Scoring three runs off of just five hits — and giving up just six hits of their own — the Cougars made the most out of limited action.
Before Columbia native Avgustina Arbova hit a two-run home run — the Cougars’ first home run of the season — in the bottom of the fourth, the Cougars had suffered two 1-2-3 innings.
Arbova’s homer gave Columbia a 2-0 advantage, as Sophia Nduwayo scored on the play from second base.
St. Mary’s was quick to respond, but its resurgence was short-lived.
The Rattlers put up two runs against the Cougars’ starting pitcher Lexi Dickerson at the top of the fifth, but were given no further opportunities as Battle grad and relief pitcher Madison Ramsey replaced Dickerson following the Rattlers’ second score.
Ramsey would give up just one hit in her 2⅓ innings pitched to shut out the opposition.
Back on offense, Columbia’s only other multiple hit inning — the first being in the fourth — came in the bottom of the sixth, in what proved to be the deciding period of the game.
The Cougars managed just two singles — from Kacy Bergfeld and Allison Keen — but that proved to be enough for the score they needed, as St. Mary’s compounded the two hits with a wild pitch, and Bergfeld was able to make it home to restore the Cougars’ lead and ultimately win them the game.
Though the lack of bases may be of concern to the No. 6 Cougars, their stinginess from the circle should be reassuring moving forward in the season.
Columbia is scheduled to play in the Evangel University Tournament on Saturday in Springfield, though its opposition is still to be announced.