LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - “I don’t even think I’m close to the same person I was when I first got here, Justyce McClain said. "I’ve changed so much on the field, off the field, and in the classroom and just all around as a whole person. This was definitely one of the best decisions I could have made for myself.”
Since she was eleven, playing college softball was Justyce McClain’s dream and she wanted to do it at the University of Arizona, that is until she traveled about 1,100 miles East.
“I had no idea what it was going to be like. It was my first official visit. When I left, I couldn’t stop thinking about McNeese for like two weeks. It felt like home. As cliché as it sounds," McClain said. "I left and couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
Four years later and McClain is in the midst of a record-breaking senior season. The Cowgirl leadoff batter officially passed up former teammate, All-American, and best friend Erika Piancastelli to gain the title as McNeese’s hit leader with over 254 career hits.
“I don’t even know if I have the words. It’s just such an honor to be able to do something that close to her. She’s such an amazing person and player. I told her after I broke it that this is our record because, without her, I wouldn’t have come close to breaking it. it was honestly a great feeling.”
McClain says breaking the record Friday night wasn’t the surprise, it was her father sitting in the stands, able to see his daughter make history.
“I had no idea he was coming, McClain said. "He told me he was following when I might break it. I guess a week before that series he decided to come because he predicted I was going to break it. I had no idea. It was after we came out of the pen for team time and he was standing right there. It was such an awesome moment for me.”
When it’s all said and done for McClain, she knows McNeese will always be home.
“I think just family overall. Such a family atmosphere here. Some of my professors were even here to see me break the record. It means everything to me,” said McClain.