Cougar Softball Places Second in Silver Bracket
PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL -- The Columbia Cougar softball team finished a tough weekend on Sunday with two wins and a loss in the third day of play at the NFCA Lead Off Classic. The Cougars defeated University of Saint Thomas, 4-1 and Bellevue University, 1-0 before falling to No. 19 ranked Reinhardt University, 3-2 in the silver bracket championship. Columbia, ranked No. 21 in the NAIA preseason NAIA top 25 poll, move to 5-5 on the season.
It was bright and early when the Cougars cracked the bats against Saint Thomas. Jordan Crisp (3-2) threw the two-hit win for Columbia. The senior struck out six and walked three. The victory was a come from behind win as Columbia gave up a single run in the top of the fourth and failed to score through six innings. With the game on the line, the Cougars scored four runs in the top of the seventh. Sommer Rose started the inning with a walk and was followed by a Jessica Hardy single. Chelsie Crain tied the game up with a double and Alex Ridenhour loaded the bases with a single. Two batters later Marli Hayes hit a two-out double to clear the bases and collect the win.
Columbia capitalized on an error to win their second game of the day, defeating Bellevue 1-0. In the fifth inning Rose singled and Ridenhour walked to put runners on first and second. Karina Veit hit a hard ball to the shortstop that she couldn't handle, bringing Rose across the plate for the winning run.
Sophomore Taylor Richter (2-1) got her second win of the season against the Bruins. Richter threw all seven innings of the shutout, striking out three and walking two.
In the silver bracket championship the Cougars fell to Reinhardt on a last minute serge by the Lady Eagles. Columbia scored two runs in the top of the third on a two-out rally. Hayes, Gehlert and Whitni Howell logged back-to-back-to-back triples to take a two-run lead.
Reinhardt added a run in the bottom of the fifth off of two hits and was able to tie up the game and hit the go ahead run in the bottom of the seventh off a walk and two doubles.
Crisp (3-3) took the loss against Reinhardt, giving up five hits and three walks while fanning seven.
The Cougars are back in action next weekend when they travel to the Union University Classic in Jackson, Tennessee. On Friday, March 9th they face Midway College at Noon and Union at 6:00 p.m. On Saturday, March 10th they take on St. Xavier University at 11:00 a.m. and Davenport University at 1:00 p.m.