UA Lady Lions, Jena Giants aim for history at State

High School Softball
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 7:40 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Thirteen Central Louisiana teams have qualified for the LHSAA State Softball tournament, and two of them are starting their trip to Sulphur early.

The University Academy Lions are making their first trip to Sulphur in program history.

“For us to be here in this position is a great feeling,” head coach Charles Kelone said. “If we can get down there, handle business and win my heart will be full.”

The Lions made changes to their coaching staff in June 2020, adding Charles Kelone, Justin Foltz and Hunter Arnaud to the mix. The trio has completely changed the program, making this team a force to be reckoned with.

“Our coaches have done so much in so little time,” senior Mikayla Cashdollar said. “I went to state at Glenmora my freshman year, and for these coaches to coach us there this year is amazing.”

University Academy has made its presence known in Division V as the No. 3 seed with 17 wins, and they look to carry that into their game Thursday morning against Claiborne Christian.

On the flip side, the Jena Giants aren’t new to making appearances in the State Tournament. Their softball program has made five trips in the last decade.

“It says a lot about our program, but it really stems from the heart of our community,” head coach Sarah Roark said. “The heart in this community shows in the program, the kids and their work ethic.”

The Giants’ most recent trip to Sulphur was in 2018, but they’re looking to bring back the memories of the 2014 State Championship team.

“We are very excited,” senior pitcher Alli Brunson said. “We have worked so hard for this all year. It started in the summer with workouts and in the weight room.”

“We are honored to make history,” freshman catcher Cydney Parker said. “We haven’t made the trip since 2018, and our team has the potential to do more than just make this trip. We’re excited.”

The Giants will play No. 7 seed Sterlington High on Friday at 11 a.m.

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