Alcorn State softball team lights it up in Lorman

Published 3:13 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

By Hunter Cloud
The Natchez Democrat

LORMAN — Alcorn State University lit up its softball field for its first night game played on campus in school history.

Additionally, the Braves lit up the scoreboard with 13 runs on 13 hits to beat Kentucky State 13-0 on Thursday.

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Alcorn State president Felecia M. Nave, a Prentiss native, threw out the first pitch. She said she had not touched a ball in about 30 years and got in some practice before the game. Nave graduated from Alcorn State in 1996 with a chemistry degree.

“I was nervous. The young ladies were gracious to not laugh at me and helped me get ready for the first pitch,” Nave said. “We were able to make this happen for the ladies. They won’t have to come to play day games. We can host night games now. We want to do everything we can to support their athletic careers.”

The lights were installed by Musco about a month ago and cost $300,000. COVID delayed work on the project, which began in the spring of 2020, she said.

Head coach Josef Rankin said getting lights for the softball field was one of the first things he asked for when he came to the school in 2014.

Having lights allows the Braves to have more fans in attendance, and the opening night crowd was about the size of a crowd for a midseason game, Interim Athletic Director Cyrus Russ said. As the season warms up, he expects even more fans to be present.

As for the action on the field, Rankin was pleased with his team’s performance to open up the season. They made zero errors on defense, and graduate student Brenn Ursin pitched a five-inning shutout. Offensively, they got runners on base and pushed them across the plate.

Tyesha Tcake Cole, a transfer from Jones College, had two hits and a walk-in her first game as a Brave. Her first at-bat ended with a triple that swung the momentum in Alcorn State’s favor.

“I just remember throwing my hands at the pitch. I was already in front because it was an offspeed pitch, and I had two strikes,” Cole said. “I knew it was a triple when I saw it went over the fielder’s head. It was exciting to get the girls going.”

Cole said she had no idea they had not had lights before she came to Alcorn State. She learned of the milestone in the pregame ceremony and thought it was cool to be a part of history.

“It is amazing,” Cole said. “We got to make history, and we had a shutout.”

Alcorn will wait a month to play another home night game. It is in Vicksburg this weekend and next to host a pair of tournaments at Sports Force Parks, and then will play the next two weekends in tournaments at Southern Miss and Mississippi State.

Alcorn’s next true home game is not until March 11 at 6 p.m., in its SWAC opener against Texas Southern.

Alcorn will play Southeastern Baptist College Saturday at 1:15 p.m., and Xavier University (New Orleans) at 3:30 p.m., in the River City Classic at Sports Force Parks. It will play Xavier again on Sunday at 11 a.m.

River City Classic schedule
All games at Sports Force Parks in Vicksburg
Friday, Feb. 11
Noon – Grambling vs. Tennessee State
Noon – Jackson State vs. Kentucky State
2:15 p.m. – Alcorn State vs. Southeastern Baptist College
2:15 p.m. – Grambling vs. Kentucky State
4:30 p.m. – Alcorn State vs. Tennessee State
4:30 p.m. – Jackson State vs. Southeastern Baptist College

Saturday. Feb. 12
11 a.m. – Grambling vs. Kentucky State
1:15 p.m. – Alcorn State vs. Southeastern Baptist College
1:15 p.m. – Tennessee State vs. Grambling
3:30 p.m. – Alcorn State vs. Xavier University
3:30 p.m. – Jackson State vs. Tennessee State
5:45 p.m. – Jackson State vs. Xavier University

Sunday, Feb. 13
11 a.m. – Alcorn State vs. Xavier University
11 a.m. – Tennessee State vs. Jackson State
1:30 p.m. – Xavier University vs. Southeastern Baptist College
1:30 p.m. – Jackson State vs. Grambling
River City Classic II
At Sports Force Parks
Friday, Feb. 18
Noon – Alcorn State vs. Alabama A&M
Noon – Jackson State vs. Eastern Illinois
2:30 p.m. – Alcorn State vs. Jackson State
2:30 p.m. – North Alabama vs. Eastern Illinois
5 p.m. – Alabama A&M vs. North Alabama

Saturday, Feb. 19
11:30 a.m. – Alcorn State vs. Alabama A&M
11 a.m. – Jackson State vs. North Alabama
2 p.m. – Alcorn State vs. Eastern Illinois
2 p.m. – North Alabama vs. Alabama A&M
4:30 p.m. – Jackson State vs. Eastern Illinois

Sunday, Feb. 20
11:30 a.m. – Alcorn State vs. North Alabama
11:30 a.m. – Eastern Illinois vs. Alabama A&M
2 p.m. – Jackson State vs. Eastern Illinois