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Softball: Landry’s magical trip – UL OF smashes walk-off grand slam – video of HR and interview

Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, May 9, 2014

Click here for photo gallery.

In Lexie Elkins’ mind, the No. 12-ranked UL Ragin’ Cajuns only needed one out to work with in order to get the job done.

Shellie Landry was waiting for one pitch.

As it turned out, the Cajuns didn’t need that final out after all.

Landry smashed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in leftcenter for a two-out, walk-off grand slam to lift the Cajuns to a dramatic come-from-behind 5-3 win over Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Lamson Park.

"To be honest, nothing (on her mind rounding the bases)," Landry said. "I just wanted to get around (bases) as fast as I could to celebrate with my teammates."

Click here for video of Landry hitting her grand slam home run and the post-game interview.
Shellie Landry hit a walk-off grand slam to boost the Ragin’ Cajuns over WKU in the Sun Belt softball tournament. Chad Washington, The Advertiser

With the win, the Cajuns improve to 42-7-1 overall and will meet No. 2-seeded South Alabama at 2 p.m. Friday with the winner of that game advancing straight to the 3 p.m. championship game on Saturday.

Friday’s UL-USA game will be televised live on Cox Sports Television.

"Things don’t always work out like that, but when it does, it’s a special feeling," UL coach Michael Lotief said. "She (Landry) wanted to do good for her teammates. It was great to see that kid come up in that situation and be free in that moment and just let it happen.

"For her to do it that way, that dramatically, that’s the stuff you dream about."

Frankly, the Cajuns had next to no momentum heading into that final inning. WKU starter Emily Rousseau had retired 10 of the last 11 batters, stretching all the way until two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the seventh.

When that fateful seventh inning began, UL hadn’t gotten a hit since Elkins’ single in the third.

And yet, UL’s sophomore catcher said she told Haley Hayden that she was the one she wanted at the plate. Then Hayden singled to keep things along. Then Samantha Walsh told Elkins that she was the one that she wanted at the plate.

And that uncanny team confidence went one more step to Landry.

"We were going to play hard until the last out," Landry said.

Hayden’s single was followed by Elkins with a single to left and then an advance to second on the throw. Walsh drew a walk to load the bases.

That brought up Landry. The story lines were everywhere.

The former St. Thomas More slugger had struggled to hit homers early in the season and amazingly battled that early-season slump despite her family’s emotional battle with her mother, Debbie, fighting breast cancer.

"I was thinking of hitting a ground ball up the middle to tie the game," Landry said.

What happened, though, was so much more than that. Instead, Landry delivered the classic movie ending to a trying season with the game-winning grand slam.

"I saw her mother in the stands," Lotief said. "And to know everything that kid went through this season …"

Landry’s heroics gave her the fourth home run of the season, while improving Christina Hamilton’s record to 23-1.

As Lotief warned earlier in the week, however, it was no walk in the park.

"I respect that team," he said. "That senior class has done a lot for that program.

"I knew they weren’t going to come here and lay down. I knew they were going to fitht hard for those seniors."

The Hilltoppers, who will play ULM at 11 a.m. Friday, jumped on the Cajuns early on. Preslie Cruce led off with a walk, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Shawna Sadler’s single that was misplayed into a two-base error.

Brooke Holloway’s ground out then got a second run home.

In many ways, WKU capturing the momentum was no surprise. The wind was blowing in – not good for the power-hitting Cajuns – and the Hilltoppers’ speedy approach tested the Cajuns defensively.

"WKU is not a good matchup for us," Lotief admitted.

More sloppy defense pushed home WKU’s third run in the third when Olivia Watkins scored on a bad throw on a rundown with two outs for a 3-1 lead.

The Cajuns had scored their first run in the third when Natalie Fernandez walked, Hayden singled and Elkins delivered an RBI single.

Hamilton then did her part by not allowing another run the rest of the way, creating the opportunity for Landry’s dream-come-true moment to remember with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Sun Belt Tournament Schedule

(All games at Lamson Park)

Wednesday’s Games

ULM 3, Troy 2

UTA 5, Texas State 1

ULM 2, Georgia State 1 (9)

WKU 6, UTA 1

Thursday’s Games

USA 8, UL Monroe 1

UL 5, WKU 3

Friday’s Games

11 a.m. – UL Monroe vs. WKU

2 p.m. – UL vs. South Alabama (CST)

5 p.m. – Game 8 loser vs. Game 7 winner (CST)

Saturday’s Game

3 p.m. – Championship Game (CST)