'It's her time': How Jourdyn Campbell lifted Louisiana softball past LSU at regionals
BATON ROUGE – The beauty of patience lies in the uncontrollable moment of payoff.
Jourdyn Campbell trudged through the mental toll, and physical, as she battled back from offseason MCL surgery to return to form. She relied on patience as she wanted nothing more than to be competing alongside her Louisiana softball teammates every day.
She clung to patience in the moments she felt she wasn’t living up to her mantra of being the best teammate.
The 2023 season has been arduous, featuring mountainous peaks and ocean-deep valleys for Campbell. But she persevered through it and the patience was finally paid in full against LSU in the Baton Rouge Regional championship Sunday at Tiger Park.
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In the elimination title game, Campbell came off the bench and smashed a go-ahead three-run home run and UL eventually won, 7-4, to force the deciding Game 7. Campbell picked up where she left off, drilling a grand slam in the top of the first to help the Ragin’ Cajuns build a 6-0 lead in the roller coaster matchup.
LSU took the lead later, 8-6. After UL battled back, tying things up off a wild pitch to Campbell that Lauren Allred scored on, the sophomore punched one through that scored Heath for the game-winning run that lifted Louisiana, 9-8, to its first super regional appearance since 2016.
“I come in in situations where runners need to be scored, so that’s my job,” Campbell said. “That’s what my mindset was coming in, just being prepared and score runs when I needed to.”
The triumphs in the NCAA regional were special to Campbell and her parents, Sam and Lisa, who couldn’t contain tears as she kept delivering for her team time and time again.
“It’s been a struggle mentally and physically for (Jourdyn) to come through this year,” Lisa Campbell said. “It’s taken some time. To see it all finally pay off today, it really makes us proud. She did it and for her, as usual, she was the best teammate. It’s even more special to see everything that she’s gone through, just being the great teammate that she’s always been. Her dad coached her so she’s been trained to be the best teammate whether you’re on the bench or in the field, no matter what your role is, just play your part and support the team.
“For her to step up for her team; it was absolutely phenomenal. I had tears crying because it was not expected. I’m so happy for her.”
How Campbell has handled her recovered from MCL surgery, going from an everyday starter to one of UL’s most important role players, has been pivotal for the Cajuns.
“Jourdyn has been a warrior for our ballclub,” Louisiana softball coach Gerry Glasco said. “This has been a hard season for Jourdyn, for me, for our team. Jourdyn has worked her butt off. She got mentally tougher because of where she’s been. Jourdyn comes in, she does anything we ask her to do. Down the stretch last year, she played hurt and delayed surgery.
“She’s been a blessing and a warrior for our program. She came up big for us this week.”
For Campbell to deliver during the Baton Rouge Regional title games, it took patience. She worked through it all season, which now continues to the super regional round at Washington next weekend.
“Patience paid off for her,” Lisa said. “I always tell her just be patient and trust in God.
“Right now, it’s her time.”
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at email@example.com.