DOVER, Del. – With "Old Town Road" by Lil' Nas X and the remix with Billy Ray Cyrus exploding in popularity around the world, the fifth-seeded Wesley College softball team is ready to ride on the "Yeehaw Energy" into the Atlantic East Conference Championship Series against the top seed Neumann Knights.
"We can't really explain 'Yeehaw Energy,'" said head coach Juli Greep. "It is a culminating fact that we have an exceptionally talented team and we started to put the pieces of our 'puzzle' together before the pod. When the girls on the team, led by Allison Mills, started 'Yeehaw Energy' and that was the secret mojo in bringing everyone together and finally refining those pieces of the puzzle."
Wesley looked to come together at the right time in the opening pod last weekend against the second seed Immaculata and third seed Cabrini. Wesley combined for 20 runs during the first day, including a 16-1 run-rule victory over Cabrini to lock in their spot in the final day. Riding the momentum of the first day, Wesley completed their undefeated run in the pod with a 6-2 win over Immaculata.
"Our team combined for nine home runs throughout the three games. We passed the bat around, we played tremendous defense, our pitchers did exactly what they needed to in the circle. We even had pinch hitters enter the game and hit grand slams. I was very impressed by the entire team to put us in a position that we are in now."
The last time Wesley and Neumann played back on April 23, Neumann swept Wesley in the doubleheader. Despite the result, Wesley mounted a seventh-inning rally in the nightcap but fell to a walk-off in the bottom half of the seventh.
"In those innings, we only played one inning that we truly played like ourselves and it was that seventh inning of the second game. I believe that was the spark that ignited this 'Yeehaw Energy.' Our team realized that we could compete with anybody and that directly correlated into the result of Pod B."
The Atlantic East Conference Championship Series with Neumann begins on Friday with a single game starting at 4 p.m. The series concludes on Saturday with the first game starting at 10 a.m. and an if-necessary game following. The winner of the series becomes the first Atlantic East Conference Softball Champion.
"Being in this position is something our team has talked about and worked for since January. Each of the players and coaches even wrote letters that have been locked in our 'championship box' in our locker room since the beginning of the semester. The letters themselves had messages on them going over what would it take to have a successful spring on the field, academically and socially. The girls are very excited to open that box and ride our 'Yeehaw Energy' into the weekend."