Lady Lions come from behind to stun Bulldogs in walk-off thriller


Chase Gispert

Lady Lions celebrate their walk-off win over LA Tech on Wednesday night at North Oak Park. (Feb. 15, 2023)

Southeastern softball left it late vs. in-state foe LA Tech on Wednesday night at North Oak Park. 

Junior catcher Bailey Krolczyk’s walk-off sac fly was enough for the Lady Lions to top the Bulldogs 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh as the Green and Gold remained unblemished on the season.  

Senior ace pitcher KK Ladner was superb in the victory, throwing 5.2 innings while striking out 11 of the 20 batters she faced. 

“It came down to nothing physical. It was completely a mindset. I know I’m a leader and my team feeds off of me. I just wanted to be a warrior in that circle,” said Ladner on her performance.

The former Southern Miss Golden Eagle tossed a scoreless opening five innings before being pulled in the sixth after surrendering a lead-off bloop double that landed perfectly in between shortstop Maddie Watson and a sprawling Cam Goodman. 

The junior center fielder wasn’t able to haul in the ball during her diving catch attempt and the Bulldogs were in business with zero outs. 

Junior transfer Cera Blanchard, who was named Southland Pitcher of the Week for her performances this past weekend, struggled in relief. 

The Metairie native retired her first batter faced, but it all went downhill from there. Blanchard threw a wild pitch before walking the bases loaded and then gave up a two-run single followed by a two-run double. 

Suddenly, LA Tech found themselves winning 4-2 after trailing 2-0 for virtually the entire game via Madison Rayner’s two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning. 

In the bottom of the sixth, SLU scratched a run across the board to make things more manageable heading into the last frame. 

The Lady Lions indulged in a two-out rally started off by LSU Eunice transfer Maddie Leal’s double down the left field line. A Bulldog wild pitch advanced Leal to third and freshman left fielder Colleen Kulivan’s RBI single drove in Leal drawing Southeastern to within a run. 

Junior Tarleton State transfer Chyanne Ellett, who got SLU out of the sixth, retired LA Tech’s first batter of the seventh and was looking to shut the door on the Bulldogs to give her hitters a fighting chance in the bottom half of the inning. 

However, a walk, a wild pitch and another walk sent her back to the dugout. She was replaced by none other than KK Ladner. 

The Kiln, Miss. product surrendered a bunt single to load the bases with a single out as the visiting Bulldogs erupted, smelling blood in the water with the top of their lineup awaiting. 

Ladner proceeded to fan lead-off batter Sierra Sacco and two-hole hitter Amanda Gonzalez and was mobbed by her teammates on her cool walk back to the dugout.  

“KK Ladner was absolutely phenomenal tonight. Coming back into the game and getting out of that bases loaded jam facing the heart of their lineup… I’m speechless. Wow!” exclaimed Coach Fremin, who went on to say he believes Ladner is one of the top pitchers in the state of Louisiana. 

Senior second baseman Madison Rayner gave the Lady Lions’ offense a spark once more with a single down the left field line with one out.

“Just to be calm… I just cleared my mind and knew I had to get on for my team. I just did everything I could to get the ball in between the lines,” said Rayner on her mindset during her last at-bat of the night. 

Following a LA Tech wild pitch, junior slugger Lexi Johnson blasted a triple off the base of the wall in center field to tie the game at four to the crowd’s roar at North Oak Park. 

Freshman Britt Bourgoyne checked into the ball game to pinch run for first baseman Johnson representing Coach Fremin’s final chess move of the night. 

Krolczyk stepped up to the plate and lined one to left field, just deep enough for Bourgoyne to beat an inaccurate throw home providing Southeastern with its fourth straight win to start the 2023 season. 

SLU has a big weekend coming up in Youngsville, La. for the Mardi Gras Mambo tournament in which the squad will face off against five different teams Friday through Sunday. 

Their first opponent will be Manhattan College at 2 p.m. followed by Toledo at 4 p.m. 

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