Co-Lin softball prepares for NJCAA Championship Tournament
The Lady Wolves will play Lansing Community College on Tuesday
WESSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Last year, the Copiah-Lincoln Community College softball team had a program record 42 wins, but fell just short of qualifying for the NJCAA Division II Championship Tournament. One year, and one more win, later, the Lady Wolves are 43-9 and ready to playing in the Championship Tournament in Spartanburg, SC on Tuesday.
“I kind of came back because I knew this team could do even better, and we did and we’re over here making history, so it feels good,” said third-year third baseman Josie Meggs, from Kosciusko.
Early on, the season didn’t seem like it was going to be as special as it has been. Through 22 games, the Lady Wolves were just 15-7, but they then went on win streaks of nine and 16 games on the way to the 43-9 finish.
“It’s been a very exciting season,” said Meleah Howard, who is in her fifth season as head coach at Co-Lin. “Some ups and downs, for sure, but it’s a very talented group, and we are finally starting to mesh well. It’s all about getting hot at the right time, for sure.”
“Honestly, at the beginning of the year, I didn’t think we were going to be too great, and be where we’re at now, but surprisingly we are,” said sophomore second baseman Maddie Weeks, from Clinton. “We came together, and we’re way better now.”
Weeks points to March as the time the team turned things around. Prior to a series against rival Jones College, the Lady Wolves were 15-7, coming off dropping both games of a doubleheader against Northwest CC. The players met and said they needed to lock in and turn the season around. They finished the season 28-2 from that point on.
“Just talking and communicating,” Weeks said about what changed after that meeting. “The energy in the dugout, positive energy in the dugout, really did it.”
Once the Lady Wolves got on a roll, it was hard to stop ‘em.
“You build up a lot of confidence. It’s hard to break that,” said freshman pitcher Cara Biswell, from Brandon. “We’re making history and it’s fun, but it’s also a big deal.”
The staple of this Co-Lin team is offense: the team averages eight runs a game, with three players (Meggs, Weeks, and freshman catcher/infielder Abby Grace Richardson) scoring more than 50 this season, and Weeks and Richardson combining for 131 runs batted in.
“We have our down slopes and up slopes, but I think just knowing that if you mess up hitting, you have someone behind you that’s just as good, that’s really the main thing,” Weeks said.
The Lady Wolves are the five-seed in the NJCAA Division-II National Championship and will play the Lansing Community College Stars in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. The game will be at 1:00 CST.
Howard said she is not going to change much heading to this tournament.
“Mainly it’s just keeping everything similar to how it has been, don’t change it too much,” she said. “Keeping up what they’ve doing, because you know the saying, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
The players are looking forward to playing in the tournament, and are going to enjoy the experience.
“This next week is going to be fun,” Weeks said. “It’s going to be different, we have not really been able to travel this far away for a long time with this group of girls, so I think it’s going to be fun.”
“This is my last week of softball ever, so I’m just kind of excited to spend out the people I love and my friends and just have a good time,” Meggs said.
The games will be streamed on the NJCAA website, and a pass can be purchased for one game, multiple games, or the entire tournament.
Co-Lin is not the only Mississippi team in the tournament. Jones College is the six-seed, on the other side of the bracket from the Lady Wolves. The Bobcats will play Potomac State (WV) in the first round, playing at 3:00 CST.
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