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State champion Co-Lin pursues region crown

Fresh from winning the MACJC State Softball Tournamentchampionship, the Co-Lin Lady Wolves seek a bigger prize this weekin the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Clinton. Coach Allen Kent’sLady Wolves received an opening round bye and will play the winnerof the Northwest-Pearl River game Thursday at 5 p.m., at TracewayPark.

Another first-round game in the double-elimination tournamentsends LSU-Eunice against Itawamba tomorrow at 3 p.m. Statetournament runner-up Gulf Coast was seeded second and meets thewinner at 5 p.m. on Field 2.

The tournament continues through Saturday, with the title gameset for 1 p.m.

The Lady Wolves (32-10) are defending regional champions. Theyadvanced to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Normal,Ill., last season and finished runners-up to Phoenix, Ariz.

Kent his team wants to return to the nationals. “You like to winthe state tournament but you want to win the regional so you can goto nationals. Winning state gave us a first-round bye so we arepleased with that.”

Powerful LSU-Eunice is considered the regional favorite.”LSU-Eunice has unbelievable offensive statistics,” said Kent.”They have hit around 90 home runs this season. They have averagedaround 11 runs per game.”

Kent said the Lady Bengals boast exceptional pitching, too. “Atthis stage, every team up there is capable of winning the regional.We are peaking at a good time and we have some momentum.”

Co-Lin rallied to beat Gulf Coast 8-5 in last Saturday’s statechampionship game at Wesson. Rebecca Rousseau (18-3) was thewinning pitcher in all three tournament games.

On the season, Rousseau, a 5-foot-5 sophomore from Greenwood,La., has compiled a 1.92 ERA. She has 128 strikeouts in 129 inningsand has walked 28 batters.

Offensively, the Lady Wolves have packed plenty of punch thisseason. They’ve hit a school-record 29 home runs, led by freshmanoutfielder Monea Cameron of Meadville with 9 dingers. Freshmanshortstop Daniele Wilson of Destrehan, La., has hit 7 homers andfreshman third baseman Holli Smith of Brookhaven (West Lincoln) has7.

Cameron’s .436 batting average leads the team. Wilson (.417) hasa team-high 49 RBIs to her credit.

Sophomore outfielder Candace Avants of Bogue Chitto is batting.379 and Smith is batting .341. Freshman second baseman TerriHodges of Brookhaven is batting .341 and Rousseau is next at.340.

Sophomore Chelsey Miller (.333) of Bogue Chitto, sophomoreAshley Jones (.315) of Monticello and sophomore Becca Boone (.311)of Hazlehurst are other team leaders.

Kent said Avants and Jones are recovering from sprained anklessustained during the state tournament and should be ready toplay.