McNeese Softball wins Southland Conference Tournament

Published: May. 13, 2023 at 10:29 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - McNeese beat Southeastern 6-2 on Thursday in the Southland Conference Tournament Semi-Finals to advance to Saturday’s Championship, and after the Lady Lions of Southeastern beat Lamar on Friday, the stage was set for a rematch between the two in Saturday’s Championship.

After a week full of rain, it was hot for the Championship game, but unlike the weather, the bats for McNeese and Southeastern were cold. McNeese didn’t get their first hit until Rylie Bouvier singled in the fifth inning, but the Cowgirls failed to bring her home.

Luckily for McNeese, Whitney Tate was dealing in the circle, and refused to let the Lady Lions score. She finished the game with 6 1/3 innings pitched, while striking out two, not allowing any walks, and she gave up just six hits. Ashley Vallejo came on in relief for Tate, and continued what Tate started as Vallejo held Southeastern off the board in the seventh, and then did it once again in the eighth as she went 1 2/3, struck out one, and gave up just one hit and zero runs.

The standstill of a Championship game needed extra innings to be decided, and despite the Cowgirls having just one hit on the day leading up to the eighth inning, Reese Reyna stepped up to the plate, and with two outs, Reyna sent the Cowgirls to the NCAA Championship once again with one swing of the bat as she cleared the wall in left field for a walk-off home run as the Cowgirls won it 1-0.

The win marked McNeese’s third consecutive Southland Conference Tournament Championship, and with it, sends them back to the NCAA Tournament once again.

“I mean when you think about a walk-off in the eighth man, that’s the kind of stuff you dream about, and at the end of the day, for our kids, they get to play the game, but yes, in championship play you can’t write a book better than that, a crazy year, we did some great things as a team, we set some goals at the beginning of the year, and they’re able to keep trying to accomplish them, we talk about making history, we talk about you know, we set things early and we forget about them, but we planned to be in this moment like we trained for this moment,” said head coach James Landreneau following the win.

“I just walked the game off. It was a great feeling but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates so, it was just so many emotions it was crazy, it was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done,” said Saturday’s hero Reese Reyna.

For the full interview with Landreneau, and Reyna, click here.

McNeese will find out where they’re heading for the NCAA Regionals on Sunday during the NCAA Selection Show.