Columbia senior Chelsy Pena collected three hits and drove in three runs Friday as the undefeated Eagles raced past Belleville West 10-0 in a nonconference softball game.
Two days after having their showdown with Class 4A Edwardsville suspended by rain, the Eagles started slowly against the offspeed pitches of West ace Mackenzie Skaer.
But after one time through the batting order, the Eagles adjusted and West (9-10) had no response. Junior Lindsay Wibbenmeyer highlighted a three-run third inning with a two-run single, and one inning later, Pena, a Southeast Missouri University recruit, added a two-run triple as Columbia (19-0) took a 6-0 lead.
"It's about making the right adjustments and we did that," Columbia coach Rhonda Major said. "We have been swinging the bats well all year, and like I've been saying all along we have a very good lineup where any one of these players can step up any time."
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
With Eagles pitcher Mikaela Kossina holding the Maroons in check through five innings, Columbia scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game on the 10-run rule. The loss extended the Maroons' losing streak to four.
Playing for the fourth straight day, the Maroons managed only two hits off Kossina, who after struggling a bit with her control in the first inning, allowed two Maroons to reach base only once. Kossina (9-0) retired six of the final seven hitters she faced.
"It's been a long week," West coach Brian Geluck said. "We've played Belleville East, Nashville and O'Fallon and lost all three games. But the girls weren't down at all. We had a plan coming in and we were ready to play.
"I thought we hit the ball hard most of the night. We hit some line drives, but they were either right at somebody or they made the plays.''
Skaer kept Columbia off-balanced in the first inning as she used the combination of good location and offspeed pitches. But the Eagles sent eight batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring three runs.
"That was part of the plan, to throw a lot of offspeed pitches. Mackenzie did a good job of that in the first two innings,'' Geluck said. "But Columbia is a very good team and they did what good hitters do. They made the proper adjustments at the plate.''