Expectations steadily rising for Lady Demons softball


Colin Vedros

DuBois, the Robeline native from Many High school, didn’t look far to see her success at a Division 1 level.

If the Natchitoches weather changing doesn’t describe the spring season almost taking full control, the sound of softballs hitting the aluminum bats will embrace the new season unfolding.

Softball is back in season and Northwestern State University of Louisiana looks into holding its expectations higher than last year’s close to normal season.

The Lady Demons start the 2022 season with the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission Lady Demon Classic, starting Friday, Feb. 11 and ending Sunday, Feb. 13. NSU faces the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff on Friday, followed by the University of Tennessee at Martin and Baylor on Saturday and Chattanooga again on Sunday, Feb. 13.

“We’re excited to see a different style of play and learn as much as we can about our team,” Head Coach Donald Pickett said.

Pickett enters his fourteenth season in Demonland with an extensive resume. He has eight winning seasons in the last nine years and is the NSU record holder with 336 career victories, seventh-most in Southland Conference history.

NSU’s last appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament dates back to 2014 when the Lady Demons beat McNeese State University Cowgirls twice to secure the Southland Conference tournament title. NSU ranks second behind the Cowgirls, the 2021 SLC tournament champion, hoping for a special season this time around.

“We’ve been at the top third of the conference for a while,” Pickett said. “We have the chance to do some special things this year.”

Pickett’s Lady Demon squad consists of a sophomore-heavy lineup, including shortstop Keely DuBois. In her second season with NSU, DuBois earned preseason SLC Second-Team honors after finishing second on the team with a .323 batting average and third in runs batted in with 23.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting to get it, but I did have a good season last year,” DuBois said. “I didn’t feel as confident though, but I’m really excited that I got it.”

DuBois, the Robeline native from Many High School, didn’t look far to see her success at a Division 1 level. Despite her freshman year being drowned out by COVID-19, DuBois held true to Natchitoches and claims Northwestern State University to be her home.

I knew ever since my freshman year of high school that this is my home and I wanted to stay here,” DuBois said. “The community supports everybody and it’s just awesome.”

Third baseman Maggie Black shares the same side as DuBois, occasionally stepping into shortstop as well. A highlight in Black’s career was last season’s 3-run, pinch-hit home run against Grambling that accounted for her only RBIs of the season.

Black’s mentality is similar to the teams’; work hard and compete.

“I’m really excited to get out here and see all the hard work that we’ve been putting in pay off,” Black said. “Every day is the last day I’m going to get to [play softball].”

All that’s left now is to let the season kick-off and go from there. For now, the sounds of softball flying off the bat will kick off the new season for NSU.

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