Softball lady Wolves national champs
The Co-Lin Softball team entered the final day of its 2023 season knowing one thing: a familiar foe stood in their way from winning the first national championship for any sport in school history – Mississippi rival Jones Community College.
The Lady Wolves were up to the task, handing the Bobcats just their second shutout of the season in a 7-0 win on May 27.
“What a day,” exclaimed head coach Meleah Howard. “I am so blessed and grateful to be a part of this team and program. To be a part of the first national championship in school history is a memory that will last a lifetime.”
The game was scoreless through the first two innings, but the Lady Wolves scored their first two runs in the top of the third as Zykeria Cole (Magee) and Josie Meggs (Kosciusko) hit back-to-back singles with one out to get the offense going. Cole then scored on an RBI single by Madison Moak (Brookhaven) while both Meggs and Moak advanced to third and second respectively on the play. Meggs later scored in the inning on a wild pitch making the score, 2-0.
The Lady Wolves then exploded for another five-run inning against the Bobcats, their second in as many games, as Meggs hit a leadoff single then Moak drew a walk. Maddie Weeks (Clinton) drew another walk to load the bases with no outs. Then Abby Grace Richardson stepped up, took one swing of the bat, and smashed a grand slam (her 24th home run of the season) to give the Lady Wolves a 6-0 lead. Belle West (Byram) then hit a single, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a single by Faith Kivett (Tallulah, LA) and then scored on a sacrifice bunt by Leia Phillips (Philadelphia) making the score, 7-0.
The Bobcats then got back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fifth, but a double play followed by a groundout ended the inning. The Lady Wolves then allowed just one hit over the final two innings securing the 7-0 win and the 2023 NJCAA Division II Softball National Championship.
The Lady Wolves totaled six hits as a team with Josie Meggs, Madison Moak, Abby Grace Richardson, Belle West, Faith Kivett, and Zykeria Cole having one hit each. Richardson led the Lady Wolves in RBIs with four while Moak and Leia Phillips had one RBI each.
Belle West got the start for the Lady Wolves and improved to 11-5 with the complete game shutout allowing just five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
“This team was just on a whole other level this whole week,” Howard said. “Playing all these games against the best competition in the country and we never backed down. Every single player on our team contributed in a major way all week and I am just so proud of every single one of them. I love them all and I am just so happy to be able to say that we are National Champions!”
Co-Lin finishes the season with a program record for wins at 49-10 overall in addition to winning the first Region 23 Championship since 2008.
Madison Moak and Cara Biswell (Brandon) were named to the All-Tournament Team while Abby Grace Richardson was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player and the Offensive Most Valuable Player. Faith Kivett was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player, Cara Biswell was also named the Most Outstanding Pitcher of the Tournament, while Meleah Howard was awarded as Coach of the Year after the conclusion of the game.