LSU Eunice Softball begins the postseason next week as the Bengals invade Mississippi for the Region 23 Tournament. The tournament hosted by Jones College runs from May 9-14 with LSUE matching up against Northwest Mississippi in the Bengals’ opening game.
The Region 23 Tournament will have a new format this season, adding four more teams from six to ten. The Bengals will serve as the four seed in the double-elimination tournament. LSUE was seeded according to its Massey Rating amongst Region 23 teams. Jones hosts the event after capturing the MACCC Regular Season Championship.
The last two teams standing will earn automatic berths to the NJCAA National Tournament at Tyger River Park in Spartanburg, South Carolina from May 23-27.
LSU Eunice navigated through one of the most difficult schedules in NJCAA Division II according to the Massey Ratings. The Bengals head into the postseason rated number 15 in the most recent NJCAA rankings with a record of 39-18. LSUE has won 11 of its last 13 contests including a road doubleheader sweep at Angelina College on Wednesday.
The Bengals have fielded a balanced team this year, ranked Top 20 in several offensive categories – runs, hits, doubles, triples, walks, sacrifice hits and stolen bases. Madison Prejean has been one of the top offensive producers this season for LSUE, ranking third nationally in doubles (25) while leading the team in hits (63) and runs batted in (59). The Bengals have seven batters with batting averages over .300, led by freshman Katie Salling with a .414 clip.
Returning All-American Chloe Bennett has anchored the Bengals in the circle with a 23-5 record and 2.45 earned run average. Bennett set the career strikeout at LSU Eunice earlier this season and is chasing her own single-season mark that was set a season ago.
LSUE opens the Region 23 Softball Championship with five-seed Northwest Mississippi CC. The Bengals and Rangers have met four times in the last two seasons, all in the postseason and all won by Northwest Mississippi.
Northwest Mississippi finished the regular season 31-9 under head coach Chelsea Bramlett. The number 11 nationally ranked Rangers are led by sophomore McKaylee Polk and her .560 batting average. Polk leads the team in home runs (23), doubles (17), runs batted in (59), walks (21), on-base percentage (.641) and slugging percentage (1.353).
The action from Ellisville begins on Tuesday with a pair of first-round games between with 8-seed Itawamba meetings 9-seed Holmes and 7-seed Mississippi Gulf Coast taking on 10-seed East Central. Those winners will face 1-seed Jones and 2-seed Copiah-Lincoln on Wednesday, respectively. No. 3 Pearl River and No. 6 Northeast Mississippi is the other second-round matchup of the day.
Press release by LSUE Athletics