After the disappointment of last year’s lost seasons, French softballers Mélissa Mayeux and Kimane Rogron have both bounced back in a major way, and are now taking their U.S. collegiate careers into uncharted territory.
While the majority of the country’s university-level softballers have wrapped things up for the year, Mayeux, a junior at the University of University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL), and Rogron, a freshman (first-year student) at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC), in Texas, have each earned the chance to stretch their seasons out further following title wins in their respective conferences.
Next stop? For Mayeux and her UL Ragin’ Cajuns (44-10), it’s the NCAA D1 national championship tournament, and that means testing talents against the crème de la crème in U.S. collegiate softball.
The squad stamped their ticket to the big show this past Saturday with a dominant 15-3 win over South Alabama (30-19) in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship Game. Mayeux, a standout baseball player who switched to softball only a few years ago, hit a three-run homer in the game, her fourth of the season. She also notched 3 triples and 26 RBIs this year.
The red-hot Ragin’ Cajuns, currently ranked 14th in the country, now go to nearby Baton Rouge for the NCAA tourney’s double-elimination regional round, which they’ll kick off Friday evening against George Washington (37-9), champions of the Atlantic-10 conference. The game begins at 5:30 p.m. local time (12:30 a.m. Saturday morning, French time).
If Mayeux and her teammates manage to win the pool, they’ll move on to the “super regional” round against the winner of the Tallahassee Regional, whose top seed is Florida State (39-10-1), ranked 10th nationally.
Mayeux’s uber-skilled Team France coéquipière, Kimane Rogron, has her own date with destiny after her TVCC Cardinals beat top-seeded Bossier Parish Community College on Sunday to crown themselves Region XIV East Zone champs.
Like Mayeux, Rogron hit a three-run blast in the win (8-5), helping her team earn its own shot at a national title, in this case via the NJCAA D1 tournament, the championship event for the top U.S. junior-college programs.
A total of 16 teams will participate in the tourney, which begans May 26 in Yuma, Arizona, home of the Arizona Western College, which has its own interesting French connection. Seedings and pairings will be announed later this week.
Rogron has had a sensational season for TVCC, hitting .370 with 6 home runs and 30 RBIs in 42 games played. For her efforts, the young French woman was one of just three Cardinals to earn “all region” honors.
Win or lose, the experience the two French stars are gaining right now is great news for the French national team, which heads to Italy late next month (June 27-July 3) to participate in the European Women’s Softball Championships. Allez les Bleues!