Franklinton grad part of a National Title

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

LSU Eunice brought home the 2018 NJCAA Division II National Championship on Friday in Enid, Okla.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” relief pitcher and 2015 Franklinton High School graduate Austin Bradford said. “Just seeing all of the hard work and dedication paying off was an unbelievable feeling.”
Bradford pitched twice in the championship series, allowing two runs on three hits in three innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
The runs came in his first outing when he went two innings. His second appearance was an inning of scoreless ball with one hit, two strikeouts and a walk.
“I came in twice in the World Series, once in the championship,” Bradford said. “I kind of struggled in the very beginning, but then settled in. I realized there was no reason to feel any pressure. Our offense put us in a position to win and our defense was unreal. So I settled in and competed.”
LSU Eunice went 5-0 in the World Series, which was held from May 27 through June 1.
The Bengals won the opener, 9-0, over Brunswick Community College. The next two games were victories over Northern Oklahoma Enid, 10-6 and 10-1 on May 28 and 30. Bradford pitched in the first game against Northern Oklahoma College Enid.
The 10-1 victory meant they advanced to the best-of-three series against Parkland College.
They won Thursday’s game, 9-5.
Bradford said winning the first game was huge.
“Brian Fairbanks, who is not one of our weekend starters, went out there dominated and we had Zach Hester going the second day,” Bradford said.
Hester was the team’s Friday-night starter and the Bengals’ ace.
Bradford pitched the eighth inning of the first game against Parkland and held them scoreless in inning of work.
LSU Eunice captured the championship the following day, 5-3.
The 5-3 victory was in walk-off fashion when Brent Hebert hit a two-run walk-off homer.
This was LSU Eunice’s sixth national title. The others were in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2015.
LSU Eunice tallied a 59-6 record this season.
Bradford went 5-0 with a 4.06 ERA over 26 games that featured one start. Bradford threw 44-1/3 innings. He struck out 56 hitters and walked 24. Opposing batters hit just .208 against Bradford this season.
Next year, Bradford will be playing in Lafayette after signing with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
“UL’s where I wanted to go out of high school. It’s kind of a goal to go there. To go there is sweet because it was a goal of mine,” Bradford said. “(UL) Coach (Tony) Robichaux is an incredible coach and I can’t wait to learn from him.”
This season, the Ragin’ Cajuns tallied a 34-25 record.

LSU Eunice dogpiles in celebration of their NJCAA National Title, following Friday’s 5-3 victory over Parkland College.