The SAE World Series returned to the historic City Park softball complex in New Orleans for it’s 33rd edition on June 1st and 2nd. 12 teams competed in the 2018 event. The New Orleans SAE Alumni Association dedicated this year’s event to the recently deceased Dr. John M. Daly, a key founder of the New Orleans SAE Alumni Association in 1986. Many SAEs considered him the “Grand Old Man” of the New Orleans area. Dr. Daly’s three sons, Michael, David, and Scott (all SAEs), threw out the ceremonial first pitches to open the softball tournament. The opening ceremony included the SAE World Series Color Guard marching the American flag to the pitcher’s mound with everyone singing the Star-Spangled Banner in perfect harmony.
Action for the all-SAE double elimination softball tournament began on Friday night under the stars. The first game ended as expected as the home town Rejects lost 7-0 to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) Alums. Making their World Series debut, the undergraduate chapter from Stephen F. Austin started out strong, crushing the hometown Rejects 2 team 17-1 (this game was not as close as the score showed).
Later that night, the Southern Mississippi chapter won a hard fought 12-9 victory over the LSU A team. After their victory over the Rejects, the ULL Alums pulled off the upset of the tournament defeating the defending champs from South Florida 16-13 in a high-scoring game decided in the last inning. Still high from their upset victory, the ULL Alums fell flat in their next game against Southern Miss losing 24-2. The “always tough” Christian Brothers team, led by team captain Kyle Talley, won their first game 18-8 over the LSU B team. After their initial win, the Stephen F. Austin team hit a brick wall losing to the Nicholls State A team 15-3. S.F. Austin bounced back in three straight elimination games defeating the Rejects 18-4, the LSU B team 12-3 and the ULL Alums 6-4.
On Saturday, Christian Brothers cruised to another easy win defeating the Nicholls State A team 25-2 advancing to the semi-final game. Christian Brothers veteran players John Voitier and John Shaw contributed to both victories with consistent hitting including a few home runs.
Meanwhile in the consolation bracket, the LSU A team knocked the South Florida team out of the tournament 26-3 and then eliminated Nicholls State A team 18-4. LSU stayed hot as they eliminated the Stephen F. Austin chapter 16-0. By now only the Southern Miss and Christian Brothers teams have not yet lost a game and squared off with the winner advancing to the finals. Kyle Talley’s Christian Brothers squad kept a lead the entire game winning 13-6. Southern Miss, fresh off the disappointing loss, then beat and eliminated the LSU A team 4-2 to advance to the finals. With the SAE World Series’ double elimination format, Southern Miss would have to defeat Christian Brothers twice to win the title.
Southern Miss batted first in the championship game and a solo home run by Josh Jacobs put them ahead 1-0. Christian Brothers answered with three runs to lead 3-1 after the first inning. A defensive game ensued until the sixth inning as Christian Brothers led 5-2. Southern Miss added two runs in the top of the sixth inning to close the score to 5-4 and threaten. The threat was short lived as Christian Brothers had a big sixth inning adding 5 runs extending their lead to 10-4. In their final at bat, Southern Miss could not muster a run and Christian Brothers held on for a 10-4 victory. This was the Christian Brothers team’s second SAE World Series title and secured their place in SAE World Series history.
The New Orleans SAE Alumni Association hosted a downtown reception following the tournament’s conclusion. The hometown Rejects 2 team secured the Last Place award, again. Both LSU teams earned the SAE Spirit award and South Florida earned the Farthest Distance Traveled award. Adam d’Elia from South Florida earned the Steve Birk Dedication award for taking part in his 25th consecutive SAE World Series. Rob Parson from Christian Brothers was the tournament MVP for leading his team to the title.
The SAE World Series is open to any all-SAE softball teams. We hope to see your team in the 2019 SAE World Series next summer.
Additional Details & Photographs: www.saeworldseries.net.