The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

Lady Lions vanquish pair of Power Five foes, achieve exceptional 8-1 start

Kennith Woods
Senior outfielder Ka’Lyn Watson chest bumps with senior catcher Bailey Krolczyk following an SLU score. (Feb. 16, 2024 – North Oak Park – Hammond)

This weekend, SLU Softball continued its 2024 campaign with a triplet of wins, including two over Power Five conference teams. The Lady Lions’ perfect weekend improved their record to 8-1 on the young season. 

SLU began 2024 in Youngsville for the 2024 Mardi Gras Mambo. The Green and Gold feasted on their opponents as if they were king cake, collectively outscoring them 31-0 to open the season 5-0. 

Senior catcher Bailey Krolczyk, the reigning SLC Player and Hitter of the Year, fueled SLU’s dominance during the opening tourney. She batted a scorching .533, hit two home runs and recorded nine RBIs en route to earning her first SLC Hitter of the Week for 2024 and her third overall. 

They followed their monumental Mardi Gras debut with a not-so-lovely 4-1 road loss to LA Tech on Valentine’s Day. Two days later, they returned to their own stomping grounds for a pair of clashes against Power Five opponents, including the Syracuse Orange out of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Maryland Terrapins, hailing from the Big Ten

Last year, the Green and Gold went a disappointing 0-5 against Power Five teams. This time around, they were looking to avenge last year’s defeats while still reeling from the LA Tech loss. Despite the odds, the Lady Lions went on to show their unflinching resilience, vanquishing both Power Five foes in clutch fashion. 

Friday, Feb. 16 vs. Syracuse 

The three teams, as well as the Southeast Missouri Redhawks, met at North Oak Park for the 2024 Lion Classic. The Lady Lions’ first game on Friday, Feb. 16 against Syracuse saw senior pitcher Ellie DuBois take the mound to start. The Shreveport native began her evening by tossing two strikeouts and surrendering one single through her first two innings of work. 

Senior outfielder Cam Goodman slugged a single to left field, sending two home and sparking life in SLU’s offense. Afterward, senior outfielder Ka’Lyn Watson smacked an RBI single to increase the lead. The inning ended with SLU ahead early, 3-0. 

The Lady Lions immediately blew their lead in the top of the third thanks to a pair of fielding errors, ultimately contributing to a four-run Syracuse rally. DuBois began the inning by inducing a pop-up from freshman catcher Taylor Davison. Things began to fall apart for the Green and Gold defense soon after, as a fielding error allowed ‘Cuse infielder Rebecca Clyde to safely reach base. 

Syracuse freshman infielder Makenzie Foster reached safely on a fielder’s choice, setting up senior outfielder Angel Jasso for an RBI single to cut the deficit to two. Junior utility player Taylor Posner then hit an RBI double before another fielding error brought two more runs home, bringing the score to 4-3. 

Once the Lady Lions lost the lead, Head Coach Rick Fremin subbed out DuBois for senior pitcher Mary-Cathryn Comeaux. Comeaux induced a pop-up and a flyout, ending a miserable inning for the Lady Lions. 

Both offenses went quiet over the next two innings. In the top of the fifth, Comeaux allowed three to reach base but got out of the jam unscathed, recording a strikeout in the process. In the bottom of the fifth, a couple of Green and Gold home runs lit up the Hammond sky, emphatically snatching back the lead. 

First, once senior catcher Bailey Krolcyzk smacked a one-out single, senior infielder Lexi Johnson smoked a two-run blast over the center field wall for her first home run of the season. Not to be outdone, senior outfielder Audrey Greely sent a moonshot over the left field wall, firmly placing the home team back in front, 6-4. 

Johnson said it felt good to hit a home run against a Power Five team and credited her team’s work ethic and ability to “grind out at-bats.” 

The ‘Cuse once again showed a capacity for comebacks in the top of the sixth with two runs to tie the game late. Comeaux began the inning strong with a groundout and a strikeout. However, she then surrendered singles to Clyde and Foster, which prompted Fremin to replace her with senior pitcher Cera Blanchard, who immediately gave up a full-count walk to Jasso. Posner then hit a two-run RBI single, drawing the game even. Blanchard threw a strikeout to end the inning and stem the bleeding, 6-6. 

During the Lions’ at-bat, sophomore outfielder Colleen Kullivan began the bottom of the sixth with a single to third base, advancing to second off a Syracuse fielding error. Watson advanced to first before a wild pitch sent her to second and Kullivan to third. With the go-ahead run in position, sophomore infielder Maria Detillier walked to the batter’s box and hit a clutch triple to right field, sending Watson and Kullivan home and ultimately sealing the game for the Lady Lions. A one-two-three top of the seventh for Blanchard put the finishing touches on an astounding victory over Syracuse, 8-6. 

Saturday, Feb. 17 vs. Maryland 

The next day, the SLU faithful bundled up and battled the frigid winds to watch their team take on the Maryland Terrapins. On that nippy afternoon, Blanchard took the starting post, recording two strikeouts and allowing two hits and no runs through the first five innings. 

The Lady Lions weren’t able to muster up much of an offense, either, as their lone run through the first five frames was a Johnson solo shot to right center, her second home run in as many days. Beyond that, SLU didn’t reach base in the third, fourth and fifth innings. 

Blanchard’s lone blemish on an otherwise spectacular outing was in the sixth, when she surrendered a home run to the Terrapins’ first baseman Diamond Williams. DuBois came in for Blanchard following the score. A double play ended the top of the sixth with the game tied late, 1-1. 

Once again, the Lady Lions began the bottom of the sixth tied against a Power Five opponent and once again, their steely resolve shined through. Clutch hitting and baserunning, coupled with untimely Maryland errors, would eventually allow Southeastern to emerge victorious. 

Ka’Lyn Watson drew a walk to start the inning, then stole second and reached third off a fielding error. She ran home due to another fielding error, while freshman infielder Chloe Magee safely reached base. Krolczyk and junior infielder Maddie Watson each hit RBI singles to pad SLU’s lead. A DuBois one-two-three top of the seventh sealed a second-consecutive gritty win over a Power Five team, 4-1. 

Fremin praised his team’s poise and clean execution following their back-to-back wins against Syracuse and Maryland. 

“We knew it would be tough to keep Maryland’s bats at bay. After they hit the long ball, I was pleased with how our team responded, giving us a lead going into the seventh and playing error-free defense. With last year’s team, we weren’t able to close the door against Power Five teams, and that hurt us with getting a large bid to the regionals. This group, with a lot of returners…I felt tonight and last night they handled themselves well,” Fremin said. 

The weekend concluded with much less fanfare; after narrowly defeating Syracuse and Maryland, the Green and Gold cruised to a 10-2 victory over Southeast Missouri, finishing the Lion Classic 3-0 and 8-1 overall on the season. 

Blanchard cautioned her team to avoid getting comfortable and emphasized the importance of continuing to work hard, despite their early success. 

“[We need to] keep going, take it one game at a time and never settle,” Blanchard said. 

Fans can see the Lady Lions try and continue their impressive streak against the South Alabama Jaguars at 5 p.m. tonight at North Oak Park or watch them on ESPN+. Visit The Lion’s Roar for more information on SLU Softball.

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About the Contributor
Kennith Woods
Kennith Woods, News Editor
Kennith Woods is a sophomore communication major with a concentration in television and multimedia journalism and a creative writing minor. A resident of Prairieville, Kennith is The Lion’s Roar’s newly-minted news editor. His passion for progressive change within our communities is the driving factor behind his educational pursuits, as he wants to use journalism to facilitate vital information to the public and simultaneously serve as a mouthpiece for the people’s needs and concerns.
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