Last Modified: Monday, May 20, 2013 10:46 PM
When the season was on the line, Bryce Kingsley came up big.
The freshman right-hander from Barbe pitched McNeese State into the Southland Conference tournament with an outstanding performance against Southeastern Louisiana last Friday.
He allowed just one hit as the Cowboys won when they needed it most, earning the final spot in the tournament that starts Wednesday.
Kingsley did it all year. After helping Barbe to the Class 5A state title a year ago, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder moved his talents down the road. He was rewarded by being named the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year on Monday.
He was one of four Cowboys to earn All-Southland Conference Honors, as announced by the league. LSU slugger Raph Rhymes was named as LSWA Hitter of the Week.
Kingsley was joined by junior left fielder Jackson Gooch (second team), and first baseman Chayse Marion and pitcher Blake Ware (third team).
He also was named LSWA Pitcher of the Week earlier this season after having tossed 102⁄3 scoreless innings against Lamar, helping the Cowboys pitching staff set a new school-record of 25 consecutive scoreless innings. It broke the previous mark of 22 shutout innings set in 1989.
Kingsley is the third Cowboy to receive Freshman of the Year honors, joining Dooley Prince (2002) and Bryan Cartie (2005). He ranks in the top 10 in the Southland Conference in three different categories — wins (8), opponent batting average (.228) and innings pitched (94 2/3).
The true freshman has produced an 8-5 overall record along with a 2.57 ERA, which ranks as the fifth best in the league. Kingsley also recorded back-to-back complete games in wins against Oral Roberts and Southeastern Louisiana.
Gooch, a native of Delta, British Columbia, has been one of the team’s top hitters with a .308 batting average. Gooch ranks in the top 10 of the conference in four different categories — hits (64), home runs (5), doubles (15) and total bases (96). He also led the team with 34 RBIs and also had a team-high nine multiple RBI games.
Marion finished the regular season with the Cowboys’ second best batting average (.295) and led the team in multiple-hit games (17). A transfer from Trinidad Community College, Marion recorded three multiple RBI games, including six RBIs against Lamar. He had three home runs on the year, including one that helped the Cowboys punch their ticket to the conference tournament.
Ware, a native of White Oak, Texas, started 14 games, threw 991⁄3 innings and struck out 52 batters this season.
The Cowboys open play in the SLC tourney at 4 p.m. on Wednesday against top-seeded Sam Houston State in Sugarland, Texas. Last year McNeese lost the first two games in the double-elimination tournament, ending its season early.