The Columbia baseball team has ended the last third of its season, losing nine out of 14 games.
“We have not had a great record in these last few weeks, but we are so close to turning the corner,” CHS baseball coach Keith Jany said. “We have been in every game and in most just a hit or two away from changing the outcome. We are taking good at-bats and swinging the bats well, just seem to be hitting the ball right at people some times.”
In what can be a long season in the sport of baseball, the Columbia Eagles believe they are headed back up, ready to reflect on their 21-12 record and carry it on into the post-season.
“We continue to get strong starting pitching, so we are happy about that and our defense continues to play strong as it has all season. We are close and we can turn the corner and make a long run any time now,” Jany explained, adding that theirarms have now had time to rest and the team is healthy.
CHS is coming into Wednesday’s Class 3A Columbia regional game against Mascoutah after two losses.
“We had a terrific pitching performance on Saturday against a very good Alton team by junior Josh Fleming (three innings) and sophomore Brendan Wilhelm (four innings). Taking a lead into the seventh inning against them was big for us,” Jany said, referring to his team’s close, 2-1, defeat.
“On Saturday, we did not do a great job running the bases, or executing our offense in some bunt situations,” Jany said, adding that he knows his team can reverse this with focus and newly returned confidence from facing a tough Alton team and sticking with them.
The Eagles then turned around and dropped one to Highland, 7-6, on Monday.
But prior to those two games, CHS defeated Mascoutah, 4-3 a familiar foe they are ready to face in Wednesday’s semifinal match-up during their hosted regional.
“We know that Mascoutah has a couple of very good pitchers in Netemeyer and Lindsay,” Jany said. “We believe that we have a few good pitchers also.”
The Columbia Regional presents the possibility of a Waterloo vs. Columbia match-up in the regional finals. Although now more than ever, coaches and teams are taking it one game at a time and, it can be tough not to look forward.
“If we happen to cross paths with Waterloo, it should be a good game. We know they are playing very well right now, they are very talented and they are well coached,” Jany said when asked about the possible rival regional title contest. “Coach Vogel and I are good friends and we are both very competitive, so it’s always fun when our teams get to step on the field against each other.”