Lady Tigers set to face Gainesville
Columbia’s season has been a seesaw of sorts through the first six games.
Multiplied by three.
The Lady Tigers continue to search for consistency but it doesn’t get any easier tonight.
Columbia (3-3, 1-0) travels to Gainesville (8-1, 1-0) for one of its toughest tests yet in one of its most important games of the season.
It’s a chance for both teams to grab sole possession of first place in District 3-7A, a four-team division that could very well come down to these two teams come April.
Gainesville is fresh off of a 9-0 win over Middleburg Tuesday night while Columbia will try and bounce back from a 6-0 loss to Lafayette last Friday.
The Lady Tigers’ confidence isn’t shaken, despite their ups and downs. They know Gainesville is one of the better teams in the state but the Lady Tigers just knocked off defending 6A state champion Forest.
Columbia knows it can hang with anybody.
“They’re always pumped up for GHS. They’re always ready to bring it and they know they can do it,” Columbia head coach Trudy Andrews said. “We’ve just got to sit back, relax and not be tight at the plate and just have good pitch selection and believe in their bats.
On the mound for Gainesville is no other than Katie Chronister, a Florida signee that can stifle any lineup in any classification.
She’s arguably the best pitcher in the state.
“She’s got the speed and she’s got some movement so we’ve got to be patient and have good pitch selection,” Andrews said.
Columbia was only one of two teams to defeat Chronister a season ago but this year’s lineup is significantly different. Five freshmen make up nearly half of Columbia’s roster, making the matchup with Chorister that much more difficult.
Some of the girls have seen Chronister in travel ball and Kamdyn Kvistad and Tatum Morgan have seen her a number of times just in their time at Columbia.
Andrews says the girls have passed on advice on how to attack her.
“They’ve all talked. A lot of these girls know her and seen her and watched her or played against her so they’ve all talked amongst themselves,” Andrews said. “They’re sharing the information that they have.”
Andrews hopes to have most of her roster available tonight as some girls have been fighting through colds. Columbia is still without starting pithier Ivorie Maltby, who will see a doctor in Jacksonville today about her fractured wrist.
Maltby hopes to be back by the end of March. In the meantime, Cris’Deona Beasley will take the mound once again for the Lady Tigers.
Still, despite their ups and downs, Andrews has supreme confidence in her team.
She believed they would beat Forest.
She believes they’ll beat Gainesville.
She believes they can beat any team in the state.
The Lady Tigers just need to be confident, relax and do their thing.
The rest will take care of itself.
“It’s the time now to step up and get the bats working for us and start building from here,” Andrews said.