by Geary Mason
It’s time to recognize everyone who participated in the 2023 SAE World Series softball tournament in New Orleans.
The 38th annual SAE World Series softball tournament was held at New Orleans City Park on Friday, June 9th and Saturday, June 10th, 2023.
1st place – Union University.
2nd place – Christian Brothers alums.
3rd place – Louisiana Epsilon Alumni Assn.
Thank you to every team, player, and volunteer for making this the best SAE sporting event in the nation!
The 38th Annual SAE World Series was successfully held in New Orleans on Friday and Saturday, June 9th and 10th, 2023. Twelve teams from across the country participated in the double elimination softball tournament. The 2023 SAE World Series was dedicated to the memory of Richard Neal Clark. Neal passed away unexpectedly in the last year and will be greatly missed by the SAE World Series and everyone who knew him. Neal was a fun loving New Orleans area alumnus and longtime sponsor and player in the SAE World Series. After singing the Star Spangled Banner, the event’s opening ceremony was highlighted when Neal’s brother Joe, who is also an SAE alumnus, threw out the tournament’s first pitch. Neal’s son and daughter, Richard and Alex, also threw ceremonial first pitches which were, of course, perfect strikes.
Softball play began Friday afternoon at 6pm with all three New Orleans area alumni teams losing their opening games. The Rejects got shut out by Union University 17-0. The Rejects 2 team lost to LSU 12-3. The new Rejected Rejects team got shut out 22-0 by the Millsaps B team. Yes, you read that correctly… the “Rejected Rejects” are a group of middle aged, once a year, non athletic alums that got cut by the other two Rejects teams but love to participate.
In the second round of games, the LSU Alums cruised by Tulane 13-0, Union University defeated Nicholls State 9-4, Louisiana Epsilon Alumni Association edged Millsaps B team 15-13, and the defending champions from Christian Brothers easily defeated LSU 10-0. The tournament’s double elimination format would give the first round game losers another opportunity to advance on this Friday night. All the Rejects teams did not disappoint and were properly eliminated in the consolation games as the Rejects lost 6-0 to Millsaps B team, the Rejects 2 lost 15-6 to Tulane, and the Rejected Rejects got demolished 22-1 by Nicholls State. The Rejected Rejects two blowout losses of 22-0 and 22-1 would easily earn them the coveted ”Last Place Award.” Team captain Webb McMahon vowed that his Rejected Rejects team would return next year and be very active in the free agent market before next year’s tournament.
Late Friday night, the only four undefeated teams would play as the Union team beat the LSU Alums 13-7 and the Louisiana Epsilon Alumni Association upset the defending champs Christian Brothers 21-20 in the tournament’s most exciting game.
After Friday night’s big upset, Christian Brothers found themselves in the unfamiliar consolation bracket. With elimination in the balance, Myles Mathern’s Nicholls State team held a 5-3 lead over Christian Brothers after two innings but Christian Brothers got their groove and held a 13-7 lead going into the final inning. Nicholls State staged a four run rally in their last at bat but fell short losing 13-11. Meanwhile, the LSU Alums eliminated Millsaps B team 14-2 and would soon face Christian Brothers in another elimination game.
In the winner’s bracket, Union University held a solid lead the entire game to defeat the Louisiana Epsilon Alumni Association 12-6 and secure a spot in the finals. Christian Brothers continued to march through the consolation bracket edging the LSU Alums 5-4. With only five minutes rest between games, Christian Brothers would now get a rematch against the Louisiana Epsilon Alumni Association squad that upset them the night before 21-20. Kyle Talley’s Christian Brothers team jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning and held on to eliminate Louisiana Epsilon 7-1 and advance to the finals to face Union.
One of the many SAE World Series’ story lines is that Union’s team captain Bryce Cagle and two other Tennessee Eta (Union University) players actually played on the Christian Brothers team that won the 2022 SAE tournament. Bryce tried to recruit a Union team in 2022 and fell short of players but he and the two others played with the Christian Brothers 2022 team and greatly contributed to their title. An enthusiastic Bryce Cagle returned to his Union chapter and was able to recruit a complete Union team for the 2023 SAE World Series. Union had previously won the SAE World Series in the event’s early years of 1987 and 1993. Bryce’s goal was to make his chapter’s alums proud and to bring the championship back to Jackson, Tennessee.
The two teams from Tennessee would now square off in the championship game with Christian Brothers having to win twice to repeat as champions. Christian Brothers held a 2-1 lead after two innings, but Union added a run in the bottom of the third to tie the game 2-2. Both teams added a run in the fourth inning, making the score 3-3. Both teams played solid defense as neither team could score in the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Union’s Eli Slaten’s three run RBI down the third base line started a rally that would later add two runs to jump ahead 8-3. Eli Slaten’s big hit and others throughout the tournament would earn him the SAE World Series MVP award. Down to their last three outs, in the top of the seventh, Christian Brothers scored four runs but left the bases loaded as they grounded out to end a valiant rally losing 8-7 making Union University the 2023 Eminent Supreme Champions.
Union’s enthusiastic team left New Orleans with plenty of trophy hardware. also earning both the SAE Spirit Award and Farthest Distance Traveled Award. After the championship game, everyone ventured to downtown New Orleans for an awards banquet featuring a Cajun meal home cooked by host committee member John Gutierrez.
We hope to see your team at next year’s SAE World Series in New Orleans. Full details can be found at www.saeworldseries.net and on social media (Facebook under “SAE World Series”; Twitter @saeworldseries; Instagram @sae_world_series).
If you would like to play in the 39th annual SAE World Series next spring or bring a team, please let us know. We are always looking for sponsors for our tournament as well. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Geary at 504-782-6812 or Ron at 504-906-7484.