Lion’s softball shows signs of improvement in shortened Memphis tournament


Arief Harlan/LA Sports Photography

Sophomore infielder Lexi Johnson gives a “Lion Up” during the exhibition softball game against Northwest Florida State Sept. 24, 2021.

Southeastern softball traveled to Memphis March 10-12 for a five-game tournament shortened to two games, with the last three games canceled due to disrupting weather in the Memphis region.

The Lions lost the first game against Central Arkansas University 1-6 but dominated the next game versus the University of South Dakota, winning 13-5.

Game one started defensively, with both teams going scoreless for the first two innings. The Lions got a run on the board first with a wild pitch that led to center fielder Cam Goodman running to home for a single run. 

Pitcher Heather Zumo had a fantastic first four innings, allowing zero runs; however, the fifth inning struck Zumo hard as the Bears scored six straight. This was the first loss as a starter for star pitcher Zumo, moving to an 8-1 record for the season. 

Zumo quickly tweaked herself and showed significant improvement for game two against the Coyotes. She allowed only three hits and zero runs for the tough 2.1 innings pitched, increasing her record to 9-1. 

At bat, the Lady Lions lit up the Coyotes as seven players had tremendous performances.

Left/center fielder Aeriyl Mass had one hit, three runs and two RBIs. Right fielder Lexi Johnson added two runs, three hits and two RBIs. Designated player Madison Rayner batted two hits, a run and an RBI. First baseman Madisen Blackford had a pair of runs and an RBI. 

Catcher Bailey Krolczyk and second baseman Maddie Watson pitched in with two hits, one run and an RBI. Shortstop Sarah Diaz had a single run, two hits and two RBIs. 

This list does not include three more players that influenced the score with a run or an RBI, including pinch runner Blaire Bizette, Goodman and third baseman/left fielder Lindsey Rizzo, showing how explosive the Lady Lions played at-bat for this north versus south match-up. The 13 runs on the box score show a small amount of the Lions’ in-game overall control at home plate against South Dakota.

Regardless of the result of their first outing, SLU learned from this shortened tournament and built upon game one mistakes to shine in a dominating game two, with both batters and pitchers turning a the previous day’s poor performance into an amazing one to round out the quick Memphis trip.

The Lady Lions look to continue this solidified playstyle with a Louisiana matchup versus the Louisiana State University Tigers on March 15 in Baton Rouge, La. The team will then travel to Jacksonville, Ala. to play Jacksonville State on March 17.