Cowgirls looking ahead to next year

After a landmark season in which the Cowgirls put together their best season in program history, head coach Joanna Hardin said there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of McNeese State softball.

Not only did the Cowgirls earn their best record in school history ?— going 43-14 and earning a 23-4 record on their way to their fourth-ever NCAA Tournament appearance — they also proved their mettle against some of the country’s top programs, defeating Arizona State in the Baton Rouge regional opener, taking No. 10 LSU down to the wire and narrowly missing another shot at LSU in a 14-inning rematch with the Sun Devils.

Hill: Cowboys getting in right mindset

Up around the land where Lewis and Clark once journeyed, the McNeese baseball team may have found itself as it prepares for the Southland Conference tournament.

An odd interlude out of conference play that necessitated a cross-country trip to Washington State worked out for the best as the Cowboys won three out of four to regain some swagger heading into the league tourney. No. 6 seed McNeese (29-23) opens the double-elimination event against No. 3 Northwestern State (33-22) at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas.

Barbe, LSU star on All-SEC first team

Former Barbe standout Bryce Jordan was one of two LSU players named to the All-SEC first team Monday.

Jordan, whose twin brother Beau is LSU’s starting leftfielder, made the first team as the DH.

LSU lefty Latz will open against Tenn.

LSU hadn’t even arrived in Hoover, Ala., for the SEC baseball tournament when head coach Paul Mainieri dropped a shocker for the Tigers.

Lefthander Jake Latz will start the opener for the Tigers tonight against Tennessee in the last of four opening day games

McNeese's Crane, Guilbeau, Fontenot, Kober honored

Four members of the McNeese baseball team earned all-conference honors, the Southland Conference office announced on Monday.

First baseman Connor Crane, outfielder Lewis Guilbeau and starting pitcher Kaleb Fontenot were named to the second team, while relief pitcher Collin Kober was placed on the third team.

House would ban Confederate flags on VA cemetery flagpoles

WASHINGTON -- The House voted on Thursday to ban the display of the Confederate flag on flagpoles at federal veterans' cemeteries.

The 265-159 vote would block descendants and others seeking to commemorate veterans of the Confederate States of America from flying the Confederate Battle Flag over mass graves on the two days a year that flagdisplays are permitted.

California Democrat Jared Huffman drafted the prohibition, saying the flag represents "racism, slavery and division."

Tide of college football concussion lawsuits begins

NEW YORK -- As many as 50 class-action lawsuits contesting how the NCAA, major college football conferences or individual schools handled concussions will be filed in the coming months by former players seeking damages for lingering brain injuries and ailments.

The first batch of six lawsuits was filed Tuesday. Chicago-based attorney Jay Edelson says the next wave will likely be filed within the next two weeks.

The first six lawsuits were filed by players who played for Georgia, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Oregon, Utah and Penn State. The former football players claim problems ranging from loss of memory and cognitive function to dementia.

Mosquito season brings no urgency for money to fight Zika

WASHINGTON -- The White House and Democrats are pressuring congressional Republicans to act on President Barack Obama's demands for money to combat Zika, but even the onset of mosquito season that probably will spread the virus has failed to create a sense of urgency.

Republicans from states at greatest risk, such as Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, have been slow to endorse Obama's more than 2-month-old request for $1.9 billion to battle the virus, which causes grave birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently reports more than 470 cases in the continental U.S., all so far associated with travel to Zika-affected areas.

Polls show that the public isn't anywhere nearly as scared of Zika as it was about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the handful of cases in the U.S. in 2014. Aides to GOP lawmakers, even those representing Southern areas most vulnerable to Zika, say they've yet to hear from many anxious constituents, though they said this could change. "Very few calls/letters," emailed a spokeswoman for Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla.

Obama challenges Americans to give back to vets, families

WASHINGTON -- Taking a cue from his wife, President Barack Obama challenged Americans on Thursday to consider how they might give back to those who have served in the military and their families.

Obama spoke to more than 1,300 service members at Joint Base Andrews as part of an anniversary celebration honoring the USO and the "Joining Forces" initiative that first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden created in 2011.

"I challenge every American to ask that simple question: How can I give back to these troops and families who have given me so much? Obama said. "Everybody should have that in their minds."

Ex-NFL QB Johnny Manziel indicted in Texas

DALLAS — Johnny Manziel was indicted Tuesday on a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from allegations that he assaulted his ex-girlfriend during a night out in January.

Already dropped by the Cleveland Browns, two