The Columbia Tigers take their first win of the season against their district rival, the Gainsville Hurricanes. The hard-fought 7-6 victory on Feb. 25 relied on the pitcher’s skill to close out the game before the Hurricanes could score.
— Vanessa Sanchez (@_vanessa_sanch) February 25, 2022
An Early Lead
In the first inning, the Tigers came out of the dugout ready to fight after their 7-5 loss against Sandalwood on Tuesday, Feb. 22. They scored two runs and only allowed the Hurricanes to score one run.
Columbia used a similar strategy against the Sandalwood Saints in Jacksonville, taking a 4-0 lead by the second inning. Nevertheless, they lost the game once the Saints scored seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Columbia was unable to recover in the top of the seventh. Scoring only one run, losing the game.
Not wanting history to repeat itself, they pulled out every skill they had early in the game. In the first inning, senior pitcher Truitt Todd aided in a double play alongside the second baseman Grant Bowers. Although he struggled to find the plate, he refused to let the Hurricanes get their way.
The Tigers used their batting and pitching skills to their advantage. Both skills improved as the game progressed and were used to keep Gainesville High at bay.
In the top of the fourth, the Tigers pulled ahead once more when Truitt Todd proved he performed both on the mound and home plate. Facing off against Gainesville Junior pitcher Tyler Guarino, he sends the ball flying over the wall, hitting a three-run homer.
Mid Game Struggles
The Hurricanes were not going to let them take over so easy on their home field. By the fifth inning, they scored three more runs, closing up the gap to 7-5.
This team struggles in certain aspects of the game, and Head Coach Chris Howard plans to apply those corrections. “We did make some corrections (from the Sandalwood game) but in reality, we just need to execute better in the middle innings of the game. We just didn’t execute routine plays and we’re gaining experience in closing out games as a team.”
Columbia held off Gainesville High in the seventh inning. They secured their narrow in of 7-6. Offensively, the team thrived, but there is room for improvement defensively commented coach Howard. Although the team did falter midway through the game, he was proud of the pitching he saw on the mound.
“I was pleased with all three pitchers Truitt Todd made a great start for us and also hit the big three-run home run,” said coach Howard.”Ty Floyd got some huge outs for us in the 5th and 6th innings, and Hayden Gustavson closed the game out for us in the bottom of the 7th.”
The Tigers are back home on Tuesday, Mar. 1 to host the Suwannee Bulldogs, another big rival game. The Bulldogs (2-1) have had a strong start to the season, defeating all their opponents with a wide margin score-wise. Columbia will approach this game like another one, ready to fight to win their first home game.