Cowgirls eliminated from Southland tournament

By Special to the American Press

NATCHITOCHES — It was not the type of history the Cowgirls were hoping to make.

McNeese State's softball team, one win away from tying a school record for victories in a season, never got there.

Instead, the Cowgirls became the first Southland Conference No. 1 seed to be eliminated from the SLC tournament without winning a game.

McNeese's season came to an end with a 3-1 loss to Southeastern Louisiana Friday on the campus of Northwestern State.

McNeese (38-15) managed just one run in 16 innings during the tournament, having been sent to the losers' bracket of the double-elimination event with a 1-0 loss to Central Arkansas in nine innings Thursday afternoon.

The Cowgirls entered the tournament the favorite after winning just the third regular season crown in school history and first since 1994. It had been since 1983 since McNeese won the title outright.

Hopes of using that as a springboard into the NCAA tournament came to an unexpected end quickly the last two days.

The Southland Conference winning earns the automatic berth into the NCAAs.

"It is a one bid conference so everything is riding on the tournament," said McNeese head coach Mike Smith before the team left for Natchitoches.

In the end, a winning season came to a surprising end.