Softball looks ahead after second place finish in tournament
June 16, 2017
The Nicholls State University softball team finished as the second place team in their conference before ending postseason play as the runners up in the Southland Conference Tournament.
It was the second consecutive year in which the Colonels headed into the Southland Conference tournament as the second seed. While the team had the third-best record in the conference, the second place team, Abilene Christian University, was ineligible for postseason play this year.
Nicholls went 19-8 against conference opponents this season, a decline from their 21-5 conference record last season. This record put them right above Lamar University [17-10], but under Abilene [20-7] and McNeese State University [24-3].
The Colonels started the tournament off with a 2-1 victory over Lamar. Sophomore pitcher Megan Landry threw a four-hit complete game, including a no-hitter until the fifth.
The Colonels followed that up with a six-inning loss to McNeese, where Nicholls allowed seven runs in the final inning.
The 2-11 loss sent the Colonels into the lower bracket, where they took down the University of Central Arkansas 4-2 in order to advance to the championship game.
Nicholls fell to McNeese 0-8 in 5 innings for the final game of the tournament. It was their sixth scoreless game of the year, and their second five-inning loss.
“It hurts,” sophomore outfielder Kasey Frederick said. “It left a bitter taste in our mouths, we could have at least played a better game.”
The second place finish was an improvement on last year’s fifth place finish after the team got knocked out of the tournament by Stephen F. Austin State University, but the Nicholls is still chasing their first tournament win since 1996 and 1997.
“It was a blessing to be there,” catcher Moriah Strother said. “The ultimate goal is to get a ring, but we fell short. It just gives us more motivation for next year because we know what it feels like to be there and to lose.”
Despite not winning the title game, Head Coach Angel Santiago said it was a crucial learning experience for the team.
“Like anything else, you just want a shot,” Santiago said. “Now you have to learn to take advantage of the situation and actually win those games. We’re not going to let things that have put us down put us down again.”
With the 2017 season over for the Colonels, they will immediately shift their focus to the summer.
“This summer’s going to be huge for a lot of us,” Strother said. “We have a lot of freshman coming in, so it’s going to be a big job for the upper classmen to get them ready and help them understand where we’ve been and what we expect.”
Santiago said that after evaluating and studying the season and tournament as a whole, he has begun to look forward in an attempt to improve the team for next year.
“Right now I’m thinking about what we didn’t have as a team, how we’re going to go about practices and I think we’re also going to evaluate personnel and who can be in a better position as opposed to the position they played,” Santiago said.