Wildcats outlast WACO
Before the storms rolled into Columbus Junction on Monday night, WACO and Columbus were making their own noise on the baseball diamonds with a thriller.
After a brief lightning flash in the fifth inning paused the game for a little while, Columbus rallied with a six-run sixth inning to take a 9-5 victory over the Warriors, who are still searching for their first win of the season.
“We just needed to refocus,” Columbus head coach Jake McCollough said. “That lightning delay really helped us do that; we came out and finished the last two innings of the game and got the win. I don’t think we came ready to go, but that was the big turning point in the game.”
Although this was a loss for WACO, this was the first time they had gone the full seven innings this season, something their head coach hopes they can learn from.
“We hit the ball better, made some plays in the field and threw strikes,” WACO head coach Shannon Rugg said. “We did what you are supposed to do in a baseball game, so it’s the first time we went the full seven innings and the kids had a fun time with it. We just have to put ourselves in that position to learn from it.”
In the bottom of the second, Kenan Todd led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch, stole second and third, and was driven in by a Richard Rivers single to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
WACO answered in the top of the third as Beau Beckler and Anthony Campbell came around to score for the Warriors to take a 2-1 lead.
Tucker Morrison picked up a two-out triple in the bottom of the third, coming around to score after being driven in by Columbus pitcher Mitchell Stewart, who also scored in the inning to give Columbus the lead again.
No scoring happened until the fifth, when WACO third baseman Jacob Freid crossed the plate after a leadoff single to tie the game, but in the bottom of the fifth, Columbus threatened once again.
Columbus managed to get runners on second and third with no outs after Morrison drew a leadoff walk and Stewart followed that with a single.
WACO’s Anthony Campbell rallied to strike out the next two batters, but with two outs a flash of lightning cause the umpire to pause the game.
When play resumed 30 minutes later, Columbus’ Austin Edwards drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, but Campbell was able to get out of the inning with no harm done when he picked off Morrison at third.
WACO took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth when B.J. Rodgers scored on an error, but in the bottom half of the inning, Columbus found a groove.
Carter Koble led off the inning with a single, as the first five Wildcat batters collected a hit en route to a six-run inning that consisted of six hits and one walk.
WACO wasn’t done yet, as the Warriors loaded the bases with two outs. Rodgers was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, but a strikeout ended the game.
“It shows that we can do it,” McCollough said. “We can come into a game and have some adversity and come out in the last few innings and win the game. Earlier this year, we had a few games where we were the underdog and let a couple get away. It shows the guys we can play a close game and pull out the win.”