NSU- Southland Conference softball series don’t need much extra spice in a league that gets more competitive each season.
But the Northwestern State-Southeastern Louisiana rivalry series added a little lagniappe in the form of the Cypress Trophy, which will be awarded to the winners each season.
Southeastern alumni Dickie Whitson and Cameron Barr created the River Bell (SLU-Nicholls football) and the Pontchartrain Bowl (SLU-UNO baseball), and the pair fostered the idea behind the Cypress Trophy between SLU and NSU softball.
Whitson and Barr were on hand to introduce the trophy to the NSU softball team Monday. SLU visits March 29-30 with the winner being the first to engrave their name on the trophy.
“We want these players to have a trophy that their proud of and that they can celebrate with and have fun with,” Barr said. “We wanted to add a female sport to the mix, and softball is one of the most popular sports around, and it’s fun to watch.
“It’s not a (Southland Conference championship), but we wanted to add a little something extra to this series that players can look forward to.”
Wes Koon and John Sammons, SLU alumni of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity, designed the trophy. Koon did the glasswork and design, while Sammons completed the woodwork.
Whitson and Barr said they want to give each university a cypress tree to plant to symbolize the rivalry.
“We think these other trophies have added something of value to our other series,” Whitson said. “We’re also thinking about creating a trophy for a soccer series as well.”
NSU leads the all-time softball series 79-38, but the Lady Lions won all four meetings in 2018.
The football and baseball trophies have taken root. The SLU-Nicholls footballs series is now called the River Bell Classic, named after the trophy. The SLU-UNO baseball Pontchartrain Bowl is four years old and was created to welcome the Privateers into the Southland Conference two years after joining the league.
SLU and Nicholls are on opposite sides of the Mississippi River. SLU and UNO are separated by Lake Pontchartrain.
Barr said there wasn’t an easy physical attribute to name the softball trophy after, but cypress trees occur across Louisiana and the trophy can be made out of cypress wood.
Photo Credit: Matt Vines/NSU Photographic Services