2014 - Lady Bengals repeat as champs
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the seventh of a 12-story series celebrating LSUE’s baseball and softball national championships.
By Tom Dodge
The 2014 LSU Eunice softball team could be remembered as the program’s best team as the Lady Bengals repeated as NJCAA Division II national champions.
The Lady Bengals’ final record of 64-3 set a school-high for most victories in a season including a record 28-game winning streak.
“The 2013 – 2014 teams were impressive as they only lost eight games in two seasons (62-5 and 64-3),” former LSUE head coach Andy Lee said.
“The three games they lost in 2014 were all by one run to four-year schools.
“You hate to compare teams,” Lee said, “but they helped set the standard for future LSUE teams.”
The Lady Bengals opened the Region 23 tournament with a 10-2 win over Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and then swept Jones County Junior College, 5-2, 6-1 to advance to the national tournament in Clinton, Mississippi.
LSUE opened the World Series with an 11-3 win over Delaware Technical Community College as freshman pitcher Raven Cole allowed three hits and three runs while walking three batters and striking out four in her five innings of work.
The Lady Bengals capitalized on Delaware Tech miscues, scoring 11 runs on just six hits but were issued eight walks.
Emily Nolan pushed across the first runs of the game for the Lady Bengals with a first inning two-run home run.
LSUE added three more runs a frame later off a passed ball, illegal pitch and sacrifice fly by Taylor Boulet.
The Lady Bengals put the game away with a six-run third inning highlighted by a two-run double from Ashley Subervielle, Codi Covington’s RBI single and a pair of bases loaded walks.
LSUE continued its offensive barrage with a 12-2 victory over Scottsdale Community College.
Nolan recorded seven RBI while going 3-for-4 at the plate.
Boulet started the scoring in the top of the third with a two-run double, part of a four-run inning.
The Lady Bengals has a big fifth frame off of Nolan’s first home run of the game, a three run blast.
Nolan later blasted a grand slam, part of a five-run sixth inning.
After cruising in the first two games of the World Series, LSUE used the timely hit in a 4-3 win over Des Moines Area Community College.
The Lady Bengals trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning before climbing out with a four-run inning.
Nolan’s critical two-run single and Destin Vicknair’s two-run home run led the Lady Bengals’ comeback win.
Vicknair allowed three runs in the first inning while scattering eight hits and striking out five batters.
LSUE fell into the loser’s bracket with a stunning 9-7 loss to Jones County Junior College.
Jones County threw the first punch with a three run first inning while the Lady Bengals countered with a three-spot of their own an inning later thanks to a three-run home run by Carey Alexis.
Jones plated three more runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good.
LSUE battled in the bottom of the seventh as Nolan hit a two-run home run to trim the deficit to 9-7.
To win the championship, the Lady Bengals then had to win three games on the final day of the tournament.
The gaunlet began with a 1-0 win over Des Moines Area Community College.
The Lady Bengals were held hitless through six innings before a pair of doubles by Nolan and Alexis gave LSUE the slim margin.
Alexis drove in Nolan for the lone run of the game with a two-out double.
Cole allowed seven hits in the shutout with six strikeouts and one walk.
In a rematch against rival Jones County, LSUE got its revenge with a 5-1 win to push the World Series to a deciding winner-take-all.
The Lady Bengals scored all their runs in a critical fifth inning while Destin Vicknair and Raven Cole combined for the win.
LSUE scored their five runs off just three hits while also plating players off a walk, wild pitch and sacrifice fly.
The Lady Bengals had eight hits in the game while Jones County was held to just four.
The top three batters in the LSUE lineup – Covington, Boulet and Brooklyn Clark – each produced a pair of hits.
Cole relieved Vicknair after two innings while the duo combined to scatter four hits and one earned run while striking out eight batters with five walks.
In the final showdown, the Lady Bengals erased a six-run deficit with an eight-run sixth inning in an 8-6 win to capture the program’s third national championship.
LSUE began the sixth with three consecutive hits by Boulet, Clark and Nolan to load the bases.
After Carey Alexis walked to plate LSUE’s first run of the game, Danielle Cruickshank doubled home two runs with another run crossing on a fielding error.
After two quick outs, the Lady Bengals scored two more off a Jones County error, another off a wild pitch and Clark provided the final run with a RBI single to center.
Elizabeth Delafield provided 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to close out the game.
Delafield scattered just three hits to squash any hope of a Jones County comeback.
“It was a big day for us,” Lee said. “It just showed the heart, the character and passion of those girls.
“It was a team win as we used every pitcher and the defense stood tall,” the coach said. “We fought through it all and won tough three games. It’s hard to believe we did that.”
Five Lady Bengals were recognized for their tournament accomplishments including sophomore first baseman Clark who was named MVP.
Clark went 11-for-22 with four RBI but had numerous clutch hits to extend innings as the Lady Bengals fought their way through the tournament.
Also on the NJCAA Division II All-Tournament team were freshman pitcher Cole, sophomore third baseman Alexis, freshman second baseman Boulet and sophomore centerfielder Covington.
Cole pitched in five of the six tournament games, earning three wins as she allowed 17 hits, 12 runs, 13 walks and 16 strikeouts in 20 innings of work.
Alexis went 7-for-21 with five RBI and a homerun for the week and made several outstanding plays at hot corner to help the Lady Bengal defense.
Boulet went 6-for-22 with three RBI and five runs scored and like Alexis, played steady defense at second base.
Covington closed her LSUE career in fine fashion as she went 8-for-19 at the plate with 2 RBI, four runs scored and stellar catches at her centerfield position.
Sophomore Nolan earned the Marucci Elite Hitter Award, with four home runs and 15 RBI., includin a three-run home run and a grand slam aginst Scotsdale.
Nolan finished the season with a school record 21 home runs and 102 RBI, as she finished first in the country for homers and second place for RBI (104).
“We had five All-Americans on that team after their impressive seasons,” Lee said of Clark, Covington and Nolan, along with pitchers Cole and Vicknair.
Cole was named NJCAA National Pitcher of the Year as well.
Clark wrapped up her two seasons with a .534 batting average, 102 total hits and 25 doubles, etching her name in the record books with program single season records in each category.
She added three triples and eight home runs, tallying a .577 on-base percentage and a .822 slugging percentage.
Covington closed out her Lady Bengal career with a .407 batting average in 2014, driving in 34 RBIs, while adding 15 doubles and eight home runs, notching a .475 on-base percentage and a .624 slugging percentage to go with her overall batting average.
She also finished with 23 steals while being thrown out only once all season.
Nolan ended her Lady Bengal career with her name in the record books as well, connecting for 21 home runs and driving in 102 RBI, both new program bests, while tying Clark for the most doubles in a single season with 25.
She finished with a .452 batting average, a .518 on-base percentage and a .931 slugging percentage.
Cole collected 27 wins inside the circle in her freshman campaign, striking out 217 batters to set a LSU Eunice program records in that category. She pitched 166.2 innings in 2014 while finishing with a 1.09 ERA. At the plate, she collected five doubles and 10 home runs while driving in 73 RBIs to finish with a .319 batting average, a .438 on-base percentage and a .613 slugging percentage.
Vicknair finished 28 wins inside the circle in her first season, striking out 150 batters while pitching 180.0 innings in 2014 and finishing with a 0.93 ERA. At the plate, she collected 16 doubles and 15 home runs while driving in 60 RBIs to finish with a .410 batting average, a .487 on-base percentage and a .789 slugging percentage.
As a team, the Lady Bengals set new program-bests in batting average (.389), runs scored (553), total hits (702, doubles (169) and total RBIs (489). In the circle, they notched new bests in team ERA (1.08) and total strikeouts (428).
LSU Eunice also finished with new program highs in several team categories, including doubles (153), triples (17), RBI (432), and runs scored (525), while their team batting average of .365 tied the team record as well.
2014 LSUE roster
1 OF Camille Quebodeaux
3 IF Taylor Boulet
4 OF Brittany Johnson
5 IF Brooklynn Clark
6 P Kayla Davidson
7 IF Abigail Ohlin
8 C Alexa Thibodeaux
9 OF Ashley Subervielle
11 OF Danielle Cruickshank
13 IF Ginny Daggett
14 IF Carey Alexis
15 P Elizabeth Delafield
16 IF Caitlen Blanchard
17 C Katlin Flowers
18 C Morgan Tauzin
20 OF Emily Nolan
21 OF Codi Covington
22 P Destin Vicknair
24 P Raven Cole
RS C Amanda Lassus
Softball Coaching Staff
Andy Lee – head coach
Haley McCall – assistant coach
UP NEXT: The 2015 LSUE baseball championship