Could’ve been worse, Cowboys still control destiny with three games left

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2022

As bad a weekend as it was, it could have been worse.

Much worse.

The Cowboys are right where they were a week ago, in control of their own fate and tied for the lead in the Southland Conference.

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Three games remain in what head coach Justin Hill has called “a crazy season”.

McNeese State is 12-9 in the league and 27-21 overall, tied for the regular season title with Southeastern Louisiana. The Cowboys hold the tiebreaker.

In a strange subplot, Hill is just four victories shy of tying Tony Robichaux the all-time leader in coaching wins for the Pokes.

Hill has called that an honor to his players, but is more concerned about the next three games. Nothing has been decided considering six teams are within a game of first place heading into the final series of the regular season.

The top two teams will be at home for the start of the postseason with McNeese winning the last two SLC tournament titles.

“Every game means so much,” said McNeese third baseman Josh Leslie. “We just have to get some momentum and keep it going.”

The Cowboys hope they did that by rallying from four-runs down in the first Sunday to beat Northwestern State and keep a share of the league lead despite losing two of three to the Demons.

“It’s going to come down to the last three games,” said Hill. “It’s all about baseball now.”

The fact the race is so tight is not a surprise to Hill.

“There is just a lot of parity and competition in this league,” Hill said. “Every team is dealing with something. We have are own problems, we aren’t worried about theirs.”

Ironically, the two teams tied for the lead right now were picked to be the front runners in the preseason. Southeastern was selected No. 1 while the Cowboys were voted second.

Both clubs got off to slow starts with McNeese at one time in seventh place at 3-6. A 9-3 stretch has put them in position to win the regular season, including a sweep of Southeastern.

Nicholls, Houston Baptist, Northwestern State and New Orleans all could still win the league as they enter the final weekend at 11-10. New Orleans travels to Northwestern State and Southeastern heads to Nicholls for games that start Friday and end Sunday. McNeese goes to Houston Baptist for day games starting Thursday.

“This is coming down to more than just games, it’s coming down to plays,” said Hill.

And it’s coming down to the wire.