D.R. Meadows and his Columbus State Cougars were playing their best ball of the season. They had won 11 games in a row and were leading the Peach Belt Conference with an 11-1 record and were 18-3 overall. Meadows- the team’s starting third baseman- was on a seven-game hitting streak and had made only one error all season. Suddenly, the world changed when the NCAA announced that all spring sports would be canceled due to the coronavirus. No more regular season games, no conference tournament and no NCAA Division 2 tourney or world series.
“It was tough, it hit everybody pretty hard especially the seniors not knowing what was going to happen with their eligibility, but it was tough for our whole team,” Meadows said. “We just beat a ranked team (8-1 win over #23 West Georgia) in a weekday game and now everybody is hurting.”
In the West Georgia victory Meadows went 1-for-5 and prior to that game he reeled off six straight games with two hits or more including a 4-for-6 game at Augusta. D.R. raised his batting average from .233 to .305 with his streak.
“I kind of struggled at the beginning of the season, but once I found it I felt comfortable and I was hot then and it is tough when the season ends and your hot, but you can’t control it.”
Meadows was playing in his first season at CSU after playing two years of junior college ball at Chipola and South Georgia.
“I was just trying to get my timing better with the pitcher and picking out a good pitch to hit and not swing at anything I could not drive.”
D.R. also started hitting the ball consistently to the backside just as he did as a Toombs County Bulldog.
“That was another adjustment that I made trying to stay in the center and right center field gap and it all worked out.”
Ironically, it took a 5-0 non-conference loss at Albany State to propel the Cougars into their hot streak.
“Yea, were pretty motivated. We went into Albany State thinking it was going to be a rollover coming off our big wins and after that game we knew we couldn’t take anything for granted.”
The Cougars during their winning streak played well in all three phases of the game.
“Our pitching and our defense was one of the top strengths of our game. Our pitchers throw strikes when they needed to and our relievers came in and did what they needed to and we had a solid defense behind them to back them up.”
Meadows played nearly a flawless third base. He made only one error in 20 starts and that occurred in his 15th game.
“I love third base. Its fun over there and you don’t have time to think. Its the hot corner. I think I like third base better than shortstop.”
The Cougars excelled at turning double plays and they were leading Division 2 in DP’s when the season was called off. D.R. participated in nine double plays from third base.
“Our coach told us that the school record was 73 and we got that number in our head and we worked on double plays everyday and coach Collins he just made us better too.”
This past week it was announced that NCAA Division 2 has granted an extra year of legibility to baseball players and not just seniors.
“I will come back as a junior. I love baseball and I will play it as long as I can.”
As for the rest of the Cougars.
“I think we will lose a couple of seniors and it will hurt us in some spots, but we have some more guys coming in that can fill those positions. I think all of pitching is coming back, even the seniors. I think we will be pretty solid like we were this year, next year.”
If the situation improves with the coronavirus pandemic D.R. has plans to play baseball for the Gwinnett Astros.
“I am probably going to play summer ball up in Atlanta in the Sunbelt League and I will be working out up there and just try to stay in baseball shape.”
The SBL season is scheduled to begin on June 1 and runs through July 28.
In the meantime D.R. plays video games, goes fishing and does his school work online.
|1/31/2020||vs Saint Leo||W||1||6||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||.333|
|2/11/2020||at Albany State||L||1||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||.250|
|1/31/2020||vs Saint Leo||W||2||0||2||0||1.000||0||0||0||0||0|
|2/11/2020||at Albany State||L||2||1||1||0||1.000||0||0||0||0||0|