By: Bud Denega (Northwestern State Athletics)
NATCHITOCHES, La — Saturday’s regular-season finale at the Lady Demon Diamond stood as a simple yet complex day for the Northwestern State softball team. The Lady Demons had already locked up the No. 4 seed at the Southland Conference tournament and were honoring five players on Senior Day.
While NSU couldn’t celebrate with a victory — falling to Southeastern Louisiana, 7-2 — Saturday meant more than a simple result.
“I’m proud of them,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “They’ve had to deal with things that no other senior class has had to deal with, and they’ve handled it great. I’m glad we won this last series on this last weekend. It was awesome to have families here and good to see everybody.”
The loss dropped NSU to 22-20 overall and 16-11 in Southland Conference play. The victory pushed the Lady Lions to 27-21 overall and 14-10 in conference play.
Following the final out Saturday, the four seniors — Hayley Barbazon, Kaitlyn St. Clair, Emma Hawthorne and Elise Vincent — along with junior E.C. Delafield were recognized. Over the last half decade, Northwestern State has complied 118 victories and enjoyed winning seasons in all but one during that stretch.
“They gave us some consistency through the years,” Pickett said. “Being able to have four kids graduate and play all five years, is huge.”
All five started, and Delafield laid claim to the biggest hit of Saturday. She doubled in NSU’s first run of the game, which made it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the second inning.
SLU put together a five-run sixth, all with two outs, that positioned the game out of reach. Barbazon knocked home the other run for NSU on an RBI single in the seventh.
Sophomore Bronte Rhoden suffered the loss, dropping her to 4-5 on the season. She pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five earned runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts. Freshman Kenzie Seely registered the final four outs.
NSU turns its attention to the conference tournament in Hammond. The Lady Demons will play Tuesday in the opening round of the double-elimination portion of the bracket.