After a pair of tough losses over the weekend, Columbus softball evened up its record and showed off its offensive potential in a doubleheader sweep of Lincoln Northeast on Tuesday evening.
The Discoverers kept the Rockets without a win by margins of 16-8 then 9-3.
Though several players had big nights at the plate, it was Tayler Braun going 6 for 10 with four runs and an RBI that led the way. Alyssa Turner was also 5 for 8 while Katie Stachura was 4 for 10.
Larisa Rother was the winner in the circle in the opener. Stachura pitched Columbus to the victory in the nightcap.
After a 10-0 loss to Skutt and a 9-0 defeat to Elkhorn last Saturday, the explosiveness of the lineup top to bottom was a welcome sight for coach Paul Braun.
“It was really important for us. Number one, basically showed us where our ability is and that the girls are willing to respond,” Braun said. “We talked to them about not letting Saturday define you as a team. I think they showed they didn’t agree with the way they played Saturday.”
Making up for it started right away with four first-inning runs. Northeast responded with three, and answered the Discoverers six run third with five in the fourth but the Rockets momentum ended there.
Columbus pulled away with one in the fifth before pushing eight across in the sixth and ending the game on the Mercy Rule.
The Discoverers led 7-0 in Game 2 before the Rockets plated three. Two Columbus runs in the top of the seventh extended the margin out to six and was more than enough for Stachura to work with as she set the Northeast lineup down in order in the seventh.
“When you go from very little to what we did (Tuesday) night, it’s a credit to the girls more than anything,” Braun said. “We worked more on the aggressive part of hitting, looked for a pitch in our zone and jumped on those opportunities. We have to be aggressive and hit the ball because that’s when good things are going to happen.”
In the circle, Braun plans to use Rother and Stachura as a 1-2 rotation with Rother taking the first game as she has thus far. There are other younger pitchers who may see innings as well, but only if the situation fits.
“We may have to bring the other one in for relief depending on the situation or how things are going. They’re basically right now throwing an even amount of games. We want to make sure both get a good amount of experience,” Braun said. “As we get deeper into the season, my philosophy is, you can never have enough pitchers. You never when someone won’t be effective or when you might be playing a team for the second, third and fourth time. It’s always nice to have somebody to give them a different look.
The Discoverers return to the diamond on Thursday night at home for a 6:30 p.m. varsity matchup with 2-3 Omaha Westside.
The Warriors opened with wins over Omaha Central and Ralston before dropping three straight in shutouts to Waverly, Douglas County West/Concordia and Millard South.
“I think we’re going to see a team similar and maybe a little bit better than the one we saw in Northeast,” Braun said. “Honestly, if the girls take the same approach at the plate as they took Tuesday, we’re going to be fine. We did a lot of good things and a lot of good things with small ball and bunting.
“When your top two hitters are 3 for 5 and you get those girls on base it sets it up. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Nate Tenopir is the Sports Editor for the Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.