Copiah-Lincoln Wolves softball season ends in World Series Final Four

Published 4:21 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

The ride for Copiah-Lincoln softball came to an end on Friday afternoon in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The defending NJCAA Division II National Champions from Co-Lin were eliminated at the World Series by Murray State College (Oklahoma) 6-2.

Murray State moved on to play another elimination game later on Friday against Kirkwood (Iowa). The winner of that will play the only unbeaten team left in the bracket, St. Johns River (Florida), on Saturday in the tournament finale.

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Co-Lin finishes as the fourth placed team in the event that started on Monday with 20 teams from Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Co-Lin came in as the no.2 seed which earned them a first-round bye, but the Wolves were upset in the second round by No. 15 seed Central Alabama.

To their credit, the Wolves fought back with some memorable wins between that loss to Central Alabama and the elimination game against Murray State.

CLCC first staved off elimination on Tuesday evening with a 14-3 blowout of No. 17 seeded Maccomb (Michigan).

CLCC kept rolling with two wins on Wednesday, beating their MACCC rivals East Central 12-4 in the morning and the No. 1 overall seed Parkland (Illinois) 4-1 that night.

Thursday brought two more games, with coach Meleah Howard’s crew beating Rock Valley (Illinois) 10-2 in the morning and then setting up a nightcap against No. 5 seeded Louisburg (North Carolina).

The Louisburg win is one that fans of the team won’t forget, as it was a back-and-forth affair with big plays and raised emotions coming from both dugouts.

Co-Lin built an early 3-1 lead, before Louisburg scored five runs in the top of the fifth inning to go ahead 6-3.

The Wolves howled their answer in the bottom half of the same innings as Co-Lin scored six runs in the fifth and then two more in the sixth to win 11-6 in a game that was much closer than the final score.

When freshman pitcher Emily Richarde saw her team record the final out, past 10 p.m. EST for the fans watching in person and online, she took off her mask and yelled out in triumph as her teammates mobbed her in the circle.

Richarde came through big during the postseason for Co-Lin as she split innings with sophomore Cara Biswell to carry the CLCC pitching load.

Another hero of the week, and a hero of the season for that matter, was CLCC sophomore outfielder Madison Moak. Moak had four hits against Louisburg. Two of those hits were doubles as Moak drove in four RBIs in the win.

Moak has signed to play next at Southern Miss and the Golden Eagles softball staff was in Spartanburg during the week to see firsthand just what they’ll be getting next season from the Brookhaven Academy alum.

Since the postseason began three weeks ago with the Region 23 Tournament for Co-Lin, Moak has driven in 24 runs in 11 games. Over that span, she has slugged six doubles, two triples and six home runs.

A triple by Moak put Co-Lin ahead 2-0 on Friday against Murray State, but the Aggies from Tishomingo, Oklahoma rallied back to get two runs in the runs in the third, two runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth.

A strong Murray State pitching staff held CLCC to just three hits in the loss. The Wolves beat Murray State 2-1 last year in the World Series quarterfinals when the Aggies had previously been undefeated.

Biswell, Moak, Zykeria Cole, Laney Waguespack, Leia Phillips, Kat Case, Sarah Grace Smith, Abby Grace Richardson and Bailee Goodson are sophomores that Co-Lin will lose to graduation.

Co-Lin finished 47-7 overall and won the MACCC championship by finishing 26-2 in league play. Murray State moved to 60-6 with the win.