To say that the Columbia High School softball team is on a roll would be an understatement. The Eagles notched their second tournament title in two days Thursday night, plowing their way through local rivals Waterloo and Gibault on their way to the team’s second Monroe County Tournament title in a row.
The two shutout wins, improved Columbia’s record to 20-2. The night before, CHS took the Pinckneyville tournament title for the third year straight, defeating Altamont, 9-2.
But don’t be fooled by Columbia’s dominance, both Waterloo (10-7) and Gibault (15-9) are quality ball clubs as well. In fact, Gibault is ranked in the St. Louis area’s top small school teams at No. 5, while CHS is at No. 3, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch as of Wednesday.
The Hawks and the Bulldogs delivered a close one to kick-off the county tournament Thursday. Waterloo got the bats going early with a single RBI by senior Bryce Latchem to put the ‘Dogs up on the board 1-0 in the first inning. Gibault answered right back, as Morgan Weber, who took the mound for the Hawks that game, hit a single to lead the team off on the bases. She would later steal home on a wild pitch into the backstop. An awkward scene led to another Gibault run when Megan Wagner hesitated to steal home on a pop fly by first base, which then resulted in an overthrow at third by Waterloo. Gibault ended the first inning ahead 2-1.Gibault’s Morgan Weber steals home on a wild pitch by Waterloo’s Tiffany Harbison (17).
The offense kept going in the second inning, senior Haley Schlecht hit a single down the left field line to drive in two Bulldog runners. That put Waterloo up 3-2, where the score would stay for the remainder of the game.
Waterloo took on Columbia in the second game of the evening. Tiffany Harbison started the second game after notching a ‘W’ against Gibault in the first game, she was relieved by freshman Mallory Meyer in the middle of the third after Columbia scored two runs on an RBI single from Laura Roessler and an double by Kaylee Bastien. The game was close most of the way through with the Eagles on top two runs to zero coming into the sixth inning, an inning WHS probably wishes it could have back.Eagle first baseman Savannah Wittenbrink stretches out in an attempt to get out the Bulldog’s Taylor Krekorian.
Alexis Royer got the Eagles started with a double to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Caitlyn Touchette notched an RBI to put the Eagles up 3-0. A bunt by Allie Eckert advanced Royer home followed by Taryn Pena stealing home on a wild pitch, keeping Columbia on top 4-0. But the Eagles weren’t done yet, Rachel Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to add to the damage. Columbia went on to defeat Waterloo with ace Kaitlin Grohman on the mound (10 “K’s”), 7-0.
The following game against Gibault wouldn’t be much different. Columbia dominated with a total of 13 hits to Gibault’s two, resulting in a 10-0 shutout over the Hawks. Brianna Weilbacher toed the rubber for CHS with five strikeouts.
To read more about the tournament, check out next week’s edition of the Republic-Times newspaper.
To view and purchase more photos from the tournament, click here.