Baseball — Demons return to Southland play with trip to Sam Houston State

By: Jason Pugh


Adam Oller delivers a pitch during the Demons’ 7-5 win at Sam Houston State on Friday. Credit: Sam Houston State Athletics

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Twice Friday night, the Northwestern State baseball team loaded the bases only to come up empty.

Given a third chance, the Demons responded in remarkable fashion.

Daniel Garner capped a seven-run ninth inning with an opposite-field, bases-clearing double that lifted Northwestern State to a 7-5 victory against Sam Houston State in the opener of a three-game Southland Conference baseball series at Don Sanders Stadium.

“In 22 years of coaching – and this isn’t hyperbole – I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything like that, posting a seven spot in the ninth,” fourth-year head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I told them I would be proud of them either way. I thought we absolutely crushed some balls tonight that didn’t find holes. We had the bases loaded in the first and had them juiced (in the eighth). Cort (Brinson) can’t hit a ball harder than that, and their shortstop made a big-league play. You can’t do anything about that.”

The Demons (9-8, 3-1) did what they could do to rectify that problem in the ninth.

Garner started the ninth inning with a single, part of a run of five straight Demons to reach base to start the ninth.

Bases-loaded walks by Matt Valdez and Spencer Goodwin put Northwestern State on the board. After Valdez’ walk, Sam Houston State (6-12, 1-3) turned to closer Spence Rahm (0-2).

Rahm struggled to find the strike zone as well, walking Goodwin before retiring the next two Demons.

Bret Underwood then laced a two-run single on a 2-2 count to cut the lead to one. After Brinson drew a walk to re-load the bases, Garner sliced a drive deep to right field that Riley McKnight could not corral, clearing the bases and capping NSU’s unexpected comeback.

“We were really feeling pretty good, because we were squaring up a lot of balls all night,” said Garner, who finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs. “Their starter (Sam Odom) did a good job coming out and filling up the zone.

“I didn’t see (the game-winning hit) off the bat, but it looked like (McKnight) got turned around. I’m pretty happy it fell in.”

Northwestern State’s comeback overshadowed a pitchers’ duel between Odom and NSU ace Adam Oller that was a taught 1-0 battle until the Bearkats scored three two-out runs in the seventh inning.

Sam Houston State added another run in the eighth, but NSU freshman reliever Jesse Fruge (1-0) limited the damage, setting up the Demons comeback.

After the rally, Fruge’s fellow freshman Nathan Jones closed out the victory with a perfect ninth to collect his second save of the season.

“That was a huge double play for Jesse,” Burroughs said. “He threw the ball well. He walked a couple of guys but got back in the zone. Nate Jones, ice water in his veins. After that big comeback, he nails it down for us. I’m very proud for our guys. To come back and fight like that against a good club that was taking it to us, I’m very proud of them.”

The series continues Saturday at 3 p.m. with left-hander Chase Hymel (1-2, 3.80) starting for Northwestern State against Sam Houston State right-hander Heath Donica (1-2, 4.56).

Northwestern State 7, Sam Houston State 5
NSU 000 000 007 – 7 8 1
SHSU 100 000 310 – 5 10 0
W – Jesse Fruge (1-0). L – Spence Rahm (0-2). S – Nathan Jones (2). 2B – NSU, Daniel Garner. 3B – SHSU, Andrew Fregia. Highlights: NSU, Garner 3-5, 2B, 3 RBIs; Bret Underwood 2-5, 2 RBIs. SHSU, Robie Rojas 2-3, RBI; Fregia 3B, 2 RBIs; Riley McKnight 2-4, RBI.
Records: Northwestern State 9-8, 3-1; Sam Houston State 6-12, 1-3.

Status of Parish Roads – Natchitoches Parish


Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that the following arterial and collector roads in the Parish of Natchitoches system remain closed at this time due to high water:

Allen-Marthaville, between Brandon Cotton and Durr School
Bayou Derbonne
Clark, at junction of LA-480
Good Hope
Johnson Chute, at Johnson Chute Bridge
Lake Loop
Old River, near junction of LA-120
Posey, approx. 1 mile east of New Roads
Tauzin Island

Portions of numerous other Parish roads adjacent to flooded State highways remain closed at this time, including those located in the Black Lake, Clear Lake, Cypress, Derry, Flora, and Spanish Lake areas.

In addition, storm damage exists on portions of many other Parish roads that make travel difficult at this time. Parish Highway Department crews are working to address these issues in as timely a manner as possible.

Major repair work was completed yesterday on a washed-out segment of Harmony Road at the bridges over McKims Creek, and this road is now re-open to traffic.

Parish Highway crews continue to monitor and make spot repairs to Campti Bayou and Dufrene Road, which, due to the continued closure of LA-9 near Black Lake, is serving as alternate access to Hart Road and Pardee Road.

For more information, or to report road issues, please contact the Parish Highway Department at (318) 357-2200.



FEMA Officals and members of LA. GOHSEP met with Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr., Natchitoches Parish Government President Rick Nowlin, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Natchitoches Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Natchitoches Parish Government, and Louisiana Army National Guard (LANG) during a operational meeting discussing the flooding disaster in Natchitoches Parish on Friday afternoon in the civil defense center of the Natchitoches Parish courthouse.

Cane River Lake Update – March 18, 2016



The lake is currently at 101.8 MSL. and falling. The Spillway gates remain closed. The lake will continue to drop, however significant lowing of the water levels will not occur until the spillway gates reopen. Absolutely no boats are allowed on the waterway at this time as any boat wake will cause further damage to property. For this reason we will not start the clean up process until the lake falls below 100.0 MSL to minimize damage to property owners. Property owners are urged to monitor their property closely as the water drops, making sure boats are moved out with the water so they do not become dry docked or land on top of retaining walls, docks, walkways, etc. Reopening of the lake will be a lengthily process, your cooperation and patience will be greatly appreciated. I will send out emails as the process progresses to keep you informed. Property owners missing items need to call or email me at to be added to the recovery list for the lake. For more information and/or questions contact Betty Fuller 318-617-3235 cell, 318-357-3007 office, 318-379-2878 home.

Ponderings with Doug – March 18, 2016



Doug De Graffenried – First United Methodist Church, Natchitoches, Louisiana

I was waiting in the downtown Post Office in Natchitoches on Tuesday. The employees were at lunch and I knew that I needed to wait for ten minutes or so for their lunch time to conclude. I admit that I enjoyed waiting in that old building. I found a moment to prop against the wall and look around at the glorious space of our downtown Post Office. The public space has texture, aromas and character. The lighting was incandescent and soft. It was quiet! It is funny where you can find sacred space when you look for it.

I began reflecting on my Post Office experiences.

I was in college at a time when you checked your college Post Office box for mail. If you were lucky there was a love letter from your sweetie. If you were really lucky there was a money letter from your parents in addition to that letter from your sweetie. I remember cards from church members who would let me know they were praying for me. I always checked for sweetie mail at the campus Post Office after the Young and the Restless was over. I don’t know how it started, but where I went to school we didn’t schedule classes at eleven so we could watch the Young and the Restless in the Student Union. I think we really wanted to hang out with the girls rather than being interested in a soup opera. Though it was scandalous daytime television in the 1970’s! Are Victor and Nikki still characters on this show forty years later? Those soap operas never have resolutions to anything. Old Post Offices certainly do cause a wide range of thoughts and memories.

Do you remember watching football games in the 70’s and 80’s? Each Saturday the cameras would find the kid or kids holding the sign, “Hi Mom. Send money.” That is how we communicated back in the day! If you needed money, you prayed that mom was watching the game so she would send you money. I don’t think I have seen a “send money” sign in years. I suppose that now kids post to Facebook or Instagram if they need money. With electronic banking, perhaps the children can sweep the parents account to get what they need. The Post Office was once the place where love letters and money letters were delivered.

Standing in the Post Office, I was reminded that life has changed. Everything is quick and digital. Things for which we once waited are now delivered at the speed of light to an Inbox on a computer or phone. There are so many avenues of communication and building relationships. I wonder if our relationships, especially those that are digital, are as satisfying as analog relationships. Is an email love note the same as a love note delivered by the Post Office? Do college kids even have Post Office boxes assigned for their college experience?

The Post Office window opened as lunch hour was over. I enjoyed my ten minutes of standing around looking at the stuff in the Post Office and thinking. I was encouraged that my picture was not on the wall!

I transacted my business with Post Office folks.

2016 NSU Jazz Orchestra with Guest Artist Graham Breedlove

NSU Jazz Orchestra &  Graham Breedlove

NSU Jazz Orchestra

Graham Breedlove

Graham Breedlove

By: Kevin Shannahan

The NSU Jazz Orchestra presented a concert this past Wednesday at Magale Recital Hall on campus under the leadership of Conductor Galindo Rodriguez. The students in the orchestra were joined by guest trumpet soloist Graham Breedlove of The Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”. Master Sergeant Breedlove is a native of Lafayette and a graduate of LSU who grew up spending summers with relatives along the Cane River.

The orchestra performed a medley of pieces in their trademark smooth style. Graham Breedlove performed several solos and showed off his Louisiana roots with a composition he wrote titled “Bayou Farewell”

The NSU School of Creative and Performing Arts and the Jazz Orchestra are some of the things that make living in Natchitoche so rewarding.

SEE ALL PHOTOS: Kevin Shannahan

Track – NSU begins competition in second outdoor meet Friday at Louisiana Tech

4_11 Rechelle Bessard

By: Doug Ireland

RUSTON – While the bulk of the competition in Louisiana Tech’s Jim Mize Invitational track and field meet is Saturday, Northwestern State competitors will join those from McNeese, UL Monroe and Southern, along with the host school, in Friday evening action in the hammer throw and 3,000 meter run.

Saturday, field events begin at 11 a.m. with running sandwiched between 3-5 that afternoon. It is the second week of the outdoor season, with NSU coming off 20 top-three finishes, including five winning efforts, last week at the Cowboy Relays hosted by McNeese.

One of those wins came in the women’s hammer by senior Rechelle Bessard, the Lady Demon record holder. She will be a strong contender in Friday night’s competition.

From the NWS in Shreveport – Black Lake Bayou


Photo: Lisa Eldreth

Black lake flood statement from NWS Shreveport..

The flood warning continues for
the Black Lake Bayou:

Until further notice or until the warning is cancelled.
At 530 AM Thursday The pool stage was 115.5 feet.
Record flooding is occurring and record flooding is forecast.
Flood stage is 106 feet.

Forecast…The lake will continue to fall to a stage of 113.5 feet by Friday morning.

Expect major flooding to recede some two feet per day
through Saturday morning. The lake recession will then greatly
slow during this upcoming weekend due to backwater flooding from
the flooded Red River.

Baseball — Demons return to Southland play with trip to Sam Houston State

2_20 David Fry_HR_Team Congratulates

Northwestern state plays its first road Southland Conference series of the season at Sam Houston State. Credit: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The Northwestern State baseball team makes another trip to Texas this weekend.

And for the second straight trek to the Lone Star State, the Demons will see a familiar face in the opposing dugout.

When Northwestern State takes on Sam Houston State in the opener of a three-game Southland Conference series at 6:30 p.m. Friday, it will do so facing a former Demons graduate assistant coach and current Bearkats skipper Matt Deggs.

“Matt’s got a young club this year,” fourth-year head coach Lane Burroughs said. “To me, Matt’s one of the better offensive minds out there in the game. I really respect Matt, what he’s about and how he runs things. I’m excited about him. They’re doing a good job.”

The Demons (8-8, 2-1) did a good job themselves in the first weekend of conference play, taking two of three from Lamar. Sam Houston State (6-11, 1-2) dropped a pair of games at New Orleans on the opening weekend of conference play.

That slow start in Southland play did not overshadow what the Bearkats program has accomplished in recent seasons.

“They were the three-time defending champions of our league before last year,” Burroughs said. “They had been to three straight regionals. They go and sweep Oklahoma on the road and beat Wichita State on the road. That’s all you need to know.”

That culture of success is something Burroughs has implemented at Northwestern State and one that has taken place across the Southland Conference this season.

Southland teams own wins against Arizona, LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee this season, lending credence to the conference’s strength.

“I think our league is really good this year,” Burroughs said. “We’ve got some really good coaches and players in this league, and we’re right there in the middle of it. We’re pumped about going to Huntsville and playing another quality team.”

A challenging early-season schedule has propelled NSU to the nation’s No. 2 strength of schedule.

“We know that’s going to change,” Burroughs said. “Right now, our guys need to know we can stack up with anybody in the country.

“One thing we’ve told our guys is to not worry about our record. Don’t worry about the scoreboard. Worry about getting better every day. Every at-bat, every time you take the mound, worry about getting better and, at the end of the day, we’ll be where we need to be.”

The games will air on 100.7 FM KZBL in Natchitoches. Patrick Netherton will deliver the play-by-play call of the game.

Probable Starters
Friday – Northwestern State RHP Adam Oller (2-0, 0.67) vs. Sam Houston State RHP Sam Odom (1-0, 4.30)
Saturday – Northwestern State LHP Chase Hymel (1-2, 3.80) vs. Sam Houston State RHP Heath Donica (1-2, 4.56)
Sunday – Northwestern State TBA vs. Sam Houston State RHP Riley Gossett (2-0, 2.08)

Softball: Northwestern State prepared to host Houston Baptist in a three-game home series


Senior Natalie Landry will lead NSU into a three-game home series with Houston Baptist starting Friday.

Reigning Southland Conference champion Northwestern State has a little bit of a hole to dig itself out of when Houston Baptist visits for a three-game series starting Friday.

NSU (16-8, 1-2 SLC) lost its first series since early April of 2014 by dropping two of three at Incarnate Word (10-14, 2-1), snapping a streak of 13 straight SLC series wins.

Friday’s doubleheader starts at 3 p.m. with Saturday’s finale beginning at 1 p.m. at Lady Demon Diamond.

But NSU coach Donald Pickett said the team has returned to its normal routine and regained focus, even despite a 4-3 loss Wednesday to Louisiana Tech.

“We got better every day this week, and we hope that continues so we can get back to playing to our potential,” Pickett said. “HBU is looking for a series win on the road, and we’ve got to be disciplined in what we do to have our best shot at winning.

“We’ve got to relax and just play – not put too much pressure on ourselves.”

Both NSU and HBU (9-10, 1-2) sit in a three-way tie for eighth after the first weekend of league play.

HBU has lost seven of its last eight contests, including two against Lamar at Husky Field. Six of HBU’s wins have come against the SWAC.

Three of HBU’s run-rule losses have come against teams that NSU has played – the Lady Demons beat Texas State, lost by one run to Louisiana Tech and by four runs to North Texas.

The Huskies are led by Savana Guidry (.389 batting average) and Shay Orsak (.357) while Laci Belovsky (6-5, 3.64 ERA) is the best in the circle.

“They put pressure on you, and they want you to make mistakes,” Pickett said. “They are a sound team, and they’ve always been competitive since they’ve joined the league.

“We’re struggling a little bit, and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything we can in all three phases.”

NSU won all three meetings against HBU by a combined score of 35-9, and the Lady Demons are 10-1 all-time against the Huskies.

NSU is attempting to find offensive consistency, and Pickett moved No. 9-hole Sidney Salmans back to the leadoff spot after Salmans collected nine hits in the last eight games.

Kaytie Proctor, in the No. 8 hole, has also produced of late, getting six hits and three RBIs in the last four games.

“Getting Kellye Kincannon (hits in 16 of last 18 games) back into the No. 3 hole benefits us, and we’re still trying to figure out what works best,” Pickett said. “We have a lot of good hitters, and we’ve been producing runs, but it’s been one here and one there. We haven’t had enough a big innings.

“Sidney has done well, and we want to get her on base in front of our big bats.”

Kincannon leads all Lady Demons with a .416 batting average, 19 runs scored, six home runs and 21 RBIs.

Fishing duo competing in championship


Johnny Ledet and Justin Cooper, members of Northwestern State University’s fishing team, will participate in the FLW College Fishing National Championship hosted by the Mountain Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau on Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina, March 17-19. The two qualified to participate in the championship by earning a berth in conference tournaments. All of the championship action will be televised on NBC Sports Network, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network. Last year, the team of Ledet and Cooper won the Bassmaster College Series Central Regional Championship on the Red River.

Spanish Lake area now closed as a result of backwater flooding


Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that three roads in the Spanish Lake area are now closed as a result of backwater flooding.

These roads are Lake Loop, Burkett Slough Road, and a short section of Posey Road located approximately 1 mile east of New Roads Road.

Posey Road traffic may detour around the closed site via State Route LA-1222.

Motorists are cautioned against driving through flooded roads, as unseen hazards may exist.

For more information, please contact the Parish Highway Department at (318) 357-2200.

Weather outlook for this afternoon through Saturday


There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms across Deep East Texas and portions of North Louisiana this afternoon. A lingering frontal boundary will trigger showers and thunderstorms across the region this afternoon. Some storms may become severe with hail being the primary threat and damaging winds a secondary threat. Widespread severe weather is not expected. Any storms that become severe are expected to be isolated.

Aside from hail and damaging winds, locally heavy rainfall may be possible with some storms. However, widespread rainfall totals are not expected to exceed an inch and a half.

FEMA Fraud Awareness


FEMA Fraud Awareness

  • Recovery officials encourage Louisiana residents to watch for and report any suspicious activity from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals who may try to prey on survivors.
  • FEMA does not endorse any commercial businesses, products or services.
  • FEMA does not charge for its services.
  • If you suspect fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.
  • All federal employees have an official badge/ID. Ask to see it.


Melton J. Gaspard Jr.
Assistant Section Chief – Operations
Governor’s Office of Homeland
Security and Emergency Preparedness
225-925-7520 (Office)