Williams Softball Sweeps Columbia
The last two years the American Midwest Conference title in softball has been split between two schools, Columbia College and Williams Baptist College. The two nationally ranked teams met for a regular season doubleheader on a warm breezy, Wednesday afternoon in Walnut Ridge, Ark. The result was a huge sweep for WBC.
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WBC held the 18 spot in the NAIA polls coming into the doubleheader, with Columbia ranked 21.
The first game lived up to the hype. It was a tense atmosphere, as a large crowd gathered at WBC Field.
Both teams struggled to get a run across the plate for much of game one. In the fifth inning, however, WBC was able to get on the board when Tori Henson hit a dribbler to the left side of the infield. The Lady Cougars tried to throw Ashley Boyles out at home, but she slid in safely.
Columbia would respond in the top half of the 7th inning (NAIA softball doubleheaders are seven inning games), loading the bases with no outs. It was the first jam Karisa Hendrix faced all game. She was able to get the first out on a pop up to shortstop.
Then, with one out and bases loaded, the defense was ready to make the play of the game. The Cougars hit a long fly ball to centerfield. Felicia Woodard settled under the ball and made the catch for out two. The runner on third base tagged up on the play, and Woodard launched a pinpoint throw to catcher Chelsea Sanders, who applied the tag for out number three. The game was over, with a 1-0 win for Williams.
Hendrix finished with a complete game shutout. The reigning AMC Pitcher of the Week allowed three hits, one walk, and struck out six batters for the contest.
Game two would not be quite as dramatic as game one, but the Lady Eagles were victorious. Williams took advantage of some sloppy defense by the Lady Cougars in the first two innings to open up a 3-0 lead.
That would be plenty of runs for Hendrix, who picked up her second complete game victory of the day.
WBC added two in the fourth and one in the seventh. Columbia’s only runs came with a two out double in the fifth. The final score was 6-2 in favor of the Lady Eagles.
Henson drove in two runs, and went 2-for-3 from the plate in game two. Wendy Eftink also drove in two runs and was 2-for-2 swinging the bat.
The two victories improved WBC’s overall record to 20-4 and conference record to 3-1.
“Our foundation is defense. We believe with great pitching and defense, we can win a lot of games,” said Head Coach Eric Newell. “We have not swept Columbia since I have been here, and this can give us momentum going forward.”
Williams will travel to Springfield, Mo., this weekend for a tournament. They will play a total of five games. The next home games for WBC will be a doubleheader against Christian Brothers University on March 28, at 2 p.m.