Lions clinch top seed on senior day

Senior right fielder Peyton DeLong prepares to field a ball during the UNA softball team’s 11-0 win against Union on senior day April 16. The Lions are 42-5 on the year and clinched the top seed and home field advantage for the Gulf South Conference tournament April 28-30.

by Sports Editor Mike Ezekiel

In the final home series of the regular season, the UNA softball team had no problems putting away the Union Bulldogs Saturday at the UNA Softball Complex.

With the wins and a Delta State loss to West Florida, the Lions clinched the Gulf South Conference regular season title and will host the tournament as the No. 1 seed April 28-30.

“We’re excited about hosting the tournament,” said UNA coach Ashley Cozart. “I don’t think these girls are going to look too far ahead. We’re just going to finish out the year and just keep winning.”

After the first win, the Lions broke the school record for most wins in a season, earning wins No. 41 and 42 to improve to 42-5 (26-3 GSC) on the year .

With three homeruns from seniors Courtney Shields, Brooklynn Clark and Harlie Barkley, the No. 5 Lions took game one from Union on senior day, cruising to an 11-0 shutout victory through five innings.

The trio, along with seniors Madeline Lee, Peyton DeLong and Carmen Whitfield, received framed uniforms with their numbers in front of a large crowd as part of the senior day festivities.

“I knew today would be fun and a great senior day,” Cozart said. “We had a lot of kids have some big days. Once again, they just keep doing what they’re doing, and it’s working.”

Complementing the stellar offensive production, junior pitcher Hillary Carpenter kept the Union offense at bay, tossing a one-hitter and maintaining a perfect game through four innings in the shutout.

In game two, the heroics continued with an early 4-0 lead through two innings translating into a 9-0 mercy rule victory. Clark continued her hitting success with two homeruns and four RBI’s in the second game. Clark finished the double header with three homeruns and seven total RBI’s.

“This team is just amazing,” Clark said. “We we’re seeing the ball really well, and I think everybody wanted to send the seniors out good on this day.”

After one more matchup with Union Sunday, UNA closes the regular season on the road against conference opponent Christian Brothers April 23-24.