Lady Bengals celebrate championship
It was fitting that the father of LSU Eunice’s head softball coach would speak to the crowd waiting to celebrate the Lady Bengals’ 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association Division II championship.
Former major league baseball pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee was the main speaker at the annual LSU-Eunice Hall of Fame Gala held Saturday night.
Lee praised his son, Andy and the entire Lady Bengal team as LSUE won its fourth title.
“I didn’t go out to break any one’s record, I just played,” he said.
“These girls played and they won. I am proud of the way they did it.
Lee,70, entered the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox in 1969 after being drafted out of the University of Southern California.
Lee played for the Red Sox from 1969-78, as both a starter and reliever. He won 17 games three straight years (1973-75).
Boston dealt him to the Expos in 1979 where he spent three more seasons.
Lee finished with 119 wins and 19 saves, an 3.62 ERA and was inducted in the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
On Sept. 25, 1965, Satchel Paige’s three innings for the Kansas City Athletics made him, at 59 years, 2 months and 18 days, the oldest pitcher ever to play a game in the major leagues.
In Sept. 2010 at age 63, Lee signed with the Brockton Rox of the independent Canada-American League and he picked up his first professional victory since 1982.
The win made him the oldest pitcher to appear in or to win a professional baseball game.
Then in August 2012, 65-year old Lee was signed to a one-day contract by the San Rafael Pacifics’ and pitched a nine-inning complete game.
Lee’s bat and uniform were donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame following the game as the start gave him the record for the oldest pitcher to make a starting appearance, pitch a complete game and also to earn a win in a professional baseball game.
Lee said his persistence and love for the game was passed down to his son and now to the teams that Andy coaches.
“It is in the Lee genes and that is why Andy and his teams have done so well.
“You girls are amazing to go day-in and day-out and continue to win,” Lee said to the team.
The Lady Bengals finished 58-8 en route to the 2016 national title.
LSUE won its first softball national championship in 2011 (58-10) and then captured back-to-back titles in 2013 (62-5) and 2014 (64-3).
The Lady Bengals begin the 2017 season Friday in the Galveston College Island Invitational Tournament.