By: Liana Handler and Dylan Pierce
Columbia High dominated Santa Fe High in a 10-1 victory. The win showcased the Tigers’ ability to steal bases and connect with the baseball while Santa Fe struggled to match the game’s intensity.
Stealing bases was not an issue for Columbia as they were successful in every attempt. The Tigers stole second base six times and even stole third once. Often, Santa Fe players overthrew the ball, giving the players the ability to coast into scoring position. Whether it was the speed from the Tigers’ batters or Santa Fe’s inattentiveness, it was a big reason why Columbia High put this game away early.
While they struggled to put up runs, Santa Fe’s pitching forced them deeper into a hole they couldn’t crawl out of. Wild pitches thumped against the wall behind the catcher, allowing runners to jog across home plate. Balls often missed the strike zone. When the pitches were accurate, Columbia’s batters laced them behind the outfielders’ heads. Senior Carston Palmer’s inside-the-park home run exemplified the struggles Santa Fe faced. While the ball wasn’t hit especially hard, errors by the infielders and Palmer’s speed tacked two more runs on the scoreboard.
Inside-the-park home run for Columbia’s #3 put two more runs on the scoreboard. 4-0 with two outs down.
— Liana Handler (@HandlerLiana) February 24, 2023
Moreover, Hayden Gustavson’s home run with a full count demonstrated Santa Fe’s struggles to put away players. With one out remaining in the inning, Santa Fe’s Dawson Card managed to strike out two Columbia batters. However, Gustavson worked himself into a full count, forcing Card to throw in the strike zone. One swing later, the ball sailed into left field, bouncing off the trees behind the fence. Columbia’s next batter hit an easy ground ball to get the third out, but the damage was complete.
The mound visits would pile up for Santa Fe as they had a total of four pitching changes. The Raiders could not find an answer for Columbia’s offense and were in need of help as they found themselves down 6-1 in the top of the second. Columbia High made two pitching changes throughout the game. However, Grant Bowers would pitch for a total of four innings and be the deciding factor for Columbia as he racked up 8K.
Santa Fe will look to have a stronger outing against Suwannee on Feb. 28. Meanwhile, Columbia High seeks to continue its winning streak against Appling County on Feb. 25.