Fans watch as the Rajun Cajuns beat the Cowboys, 14-8 Wednesday night at Cowboy Diamond. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, April 10, 2014 3:07 PM
If only they were playing horseshoes.
Maybe then the Cowboys would get credit for getting close.
But, just like crying, there is no close in baseball. It’s just wins and losses.
And some losses hurt more than others.
This one hurts because for many who went to Cowboy Diamond last night, it was personal.
The Hatfields had the McCoys, the Montagues had the Capulets, the Kardashians have, well everybody else.
McNeese fans, they have the Cajuns.
Making this extra tough was that the final score was no reflection on how the first seven innings were played.
Lafayette’s 14-8 win was the game that got away from the Cowboys, Part 2.
Last week it was LSU which rallied late to put McNeese away. This time it was the rival and hated Cajuns.
Once again McNeese, a young team with a bright future, saw how quickly things can go wrong. The Cowboys led 8-7 and were just five outs from victory when the roof caved in.
Five outs from knocking off the top-ranked team in the nation.
“We are close,” said first-year head coach Justin Hill. “We are close.”
But this isn’t horseshoes, so close doesn’t count.
If the Cowboys want to finally be seated at the adult table when it comes to college baseball in this state, then they have to earn their way into the chair.
“They just had a better knockout punch,” Hill said. “We played a good game, kept fighting back. They just fought back one more time.”
The knockout came in the top of the eighth when McNeese walked four batters and hit another as the Cajuns scored six times.
That came just when it looked as if the Cowboys were going to send a message to the college baseball world that they had arrived.
But for the second straight Wednesday that message got lost in translation. Could be it was just a different message than we were looking for?
The Cowboys proved that while they are good enough to play with the big boys, they are still not good enough to beat them.
This time the lost opportunity was seen by the fourth-largest crowd in Cowboy Diamond history, a good portion of which came dressed in red.
Their numbers seemed to grow as the top of the eighth dragged on. Or maybe it was just that the number of those wearing blue shrunk.
In truth, the game means nothing to either team’s postseaon hopes, as both still lead their conference races. But don’t tell that to anyone of the 1,919 who showed up. To them this meant much, much more.
Especially those sitting on the home side last night, who at times seem to worry more about what Lafayette teams are doing rather than those from McNeese.
The only time the fans in red and the ones in blue agreed was when the final score of McNeese’s 2-1 softball victory was announced over the public address.
When it comes to LSU, fans from all throughout the state suffer an inferiority complex.
Soon after cheers from that ended it was back to the baseball game, which was pretty entertaining until things got out of hand.
“I thought the fans saw a good game for seven innings,” Hill said. “We were right with them.”
If only this was horseshoes.
Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org