Lady Bengals’ 2011 title a special one
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth of a 12-story series celebrating LSUE’s baseball and softball national championships.
When head coach Andy Lee arrived on the LSU Eunice campus in 2009, the Lady Bengals were entering their fourth softball season and had won just 61 games.
LSUE advanced to the national tournament in his first season and finished 38-19 overall with the Lady Bengals first World Series win – an 11-2 victory over Chesapeake College.
Lee said when the team made it to the World Series the first time, “they seemed just happy to be there but they learned about what to expect and how to face strong competition.”
In 2010, the Lady Bengals fell in the Region 23 tournament and LSUE finished the season with an 48-10 overall record.
Then came the historic run in 2011, where the Lady Bengals grabbed their first NJCAA Division II national title in Normal, Illinois.
“We had good pitching with Heather Abshire, Tina Schultz and Leah Andrus,” Lee said. “We had strong contributors on offense and I remember the team chemistry was great.
“We had a small team but a lot of talent,” he said. “They really wanted to win.”
The 2011 run began when the Lady Bengals captured the Region 23 title with a doubleheader sweep over East Central Mississippi Community College 1-0, 3-1.
LSUE opened the national tournament with a 14-0 win over Cecil College as the Lady Bengals exploded for eight runs in the second inning in the mercy-rule shortened game.
Chaney Trahan collected three hits to pace the Bengals’ offense while Haley McCall chipped in a pair of hits, two RBI and three runs scored.
Abshire’s two-out, two-run double highlighted a four-run first inning for the top seeded team. McCall jump-started the eight-spot an inning later with a two-run single.
Schulz and Andrus combined to strikeout nine batters and allowed just two hits in the five- inning contest.
The No. 1 Lady Bengals held off a late charge by South Mountain College to move on in winner’s bracket play with a 7-6 win in LSUE’s second game of the first day of the national tournament.
South Mountain raced out a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run home run.
LSUE responded in the third when Ashley Taylor reached on two-out infield error to plate Jaci Trahan and Chaney Trahan.
The Lady Bengals broke loose for a five-run fifth inning to take a 7-2 advantage.
Logan Fuselier provided the big hit in the frame with a two-run single to right field.
South Mountain would close the game to 7-5 in the bottom of the inning and inched closer with a two-out run in the seventh.
Chaney Trahan led the Bengals’ offense again with a three-hit game while Schulz, McCall and Fuselier notched multi-hit games.
Schulz recorded the final out and picked up the win after throwing the final six innings of the game after Abshire exited in the first inning with an injury.
Schulz struck out three batters in the outing, while allowing four runs off of 10 hits.
“I think after that back-and-forth game, we believed we had a chance,” Lee said. “Then we dominated the rest of the way.”
Schulz dominated Owens Community College as the freshman’s complete game shutout fueled LSUE to a 6-0 victory.
The win helped the Bengals reach the winner’s bracket final.
After Andrus sacrificed in the first run of the game in the first inning, the Bengals pushed across two more in the fourth off a Fuselier RBI single and Katie Ocmand bunt.
LSUE plated three more runs in the fifth after Ashley Taylor drove in a pair and McCall’s run-scoring single.
Schulz finished the game with eight strikeouts while scattering five hits and not issuing a walk.
Karli Wainwright, Chaney Trahan, Katie Ocmand and Haley McCall each posted two-hit games in the well-rounded offensive performance.
LSUE exploded out to an 11-1 lead of Kankakee and never looked back, clinching a NJCAA title game berth with a 12-7 win.
A five-run third inning helped the Bengals separate from Kankakee, 8-1, after the two teams threw opening blows.
Fuselier provided the fireworks with a two-run home run to make it an 11-1 LSUE edge in the fourth inning.
Schulz, Fuselier, Chaney Trahan and McCall all recorded three-hit games while Schulz picked up the win in the circle.
The freshman scattered two earned runs off of eight hits while striking out one batter.
LSU Eunice captured its first national championship routing Owens Community College 10-0, its second shutout of the school during the tournament.
“I remember their coach taking his starters out in the fifth inning and giving other girls a chance to play,” Lee said. “I guess he knew they couldn’t make a comeback.”
McCall earned MVP honors after racking up another multi-hit game, highlighted by a first inning three-run home run.
McCall added two more runs scored in the game during her three-for-four game.
Andrus scored off an error and later double home a run to help push the Bengals’ lead to 6-0 after three innings.
LSUE added three more runs in the sixth inning after Karli Wainwright and Ashley Taylor produced run scoring hits.
Ocmand added the final run of the game in the seventh with a ground-rule double to plate McCall.
Schulz silenced the Owens’ bats for a second time, striking out four batters while allowing six hits and one walk.
In addition to McCall’s heroics, Karli Wainwright, Ashley Taylor and Andrus posted multi-hit performances in the title game.
LSUE set a pair of National Tournament records with a .424 team batting average and .992 team fielding percentage.
McCall and Schulz both earned NJCAA first team All-American honors, while Abshire landed second team honors.
2011 Tournament Awards
Most Valuable Player
Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Most Outstanding Pitcher
All-Tournament Team Tina Schulz, Chaney Trahan and Haley McCall
Coach of the Year