EUNICE — LSUE baseball checks off all the boxes when defining a dynasty. Last weekend the team won its seventh baseball title. This one was also it's most unique title because it represented more than one year.
"I think we run ruled like 18 out of 21 teams," said sophomore pitcher Jerry Couch. "And then, it's just all over. We knew we were going to win it."
LSUE was a perfect 21-0 before the pandemic halted the season in 2020. But immediately a group of sophomores decided they had unfinished business.
"There was still work to be done. It was like, we had a mission. We knew it was still right in front of us," said sophomore Hunter Tabb.
"We knew this was a powerhouse program," added sophomore Jerrett McDonald. "We knew we had something special. I wasn't going out sad."
Eight Bengals returned for a rare third year in Eunice, which gave the coaching staff unique flexibility.
"You knew as a coach at a two year school, you knew you were going to have more third year players than you ever had," said assistant Alan Orgain. "Also, it means you had more experience. It also means you had more leadership with guys that had been here before and knew the ropes to help the younger guys along."
That experience led LSUE to a 42-4 record before a late season run-rule loss to Baton Rouge Community College in the Bengals final home game. A COVID outbreak later halted play, but that adversity proved to be the charge the team needed going into the postseason.
"After that game we got beat, we had a pretty long team meeting in left field. Our players started to learn that you have to forget. You can't let the past define you," said Orgain.
The Bengals advanced to the Junior College World Series. After splitting games one and two, the team needed 14 innings in game three to beat Western Oklahoma State and win a seventh baseball title.
"Any type of adversity hit (during the season), they get punched in the mouth, they were able to get back up," said head coach Jeff Willis. "That happened really on Saturday night, when really, statistics say we don't win that game."
The seven titles is the most in junior college history. But for those eight returnee sophomores it's validation that patience pays.
"We all held each other accountable. We held each other to a really high standard. For those that did come back, they would agree it's super rewarding," said Couch.
"Just knowing how hard you worked with this group of guys. For it all to pay off, it's indescribable," said Tabb.
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