FAMU (23-30-1), won the opening game, 1-0 and rallied to win the second and deciding game, by the final score of 4-2.
It was FAMU's fourth straight MEAC title and the league best 13th crown since 1993.
Pereira went the distance in both games Sunday finishing her career with a sparkling 13-2 record in the MEAC Tournament, capturing her third Outstanding Performer Award in four years.
She was confident in her teammates' resolve to focus on winning the tournament. “It feels so much better that we lost and weren't expected to come back and win these two games, but yesterday we said we had two games to play and that was the plan. I think it just feels so much better that we were coming from the bottom instead of the winner's bracket instead of the normal winner's bracket with just one game. Losing and coming back today makes it that much better,” Pereira said.
Head coach Veronica Wiggins was named MEAC Outstanding Tournament Coach for the 11th time in her 26-year career. In a season that was marked by her setting the HBCU softball record with her 700th career win, this was a special tournament as none of her classes of players had been able to win four consecutive championships.
Other FAMU players honored on the All-Tournament team were senior infielder Amber Fullwood, freshman shortstop Jamesia Stoudemire, junior pitcher Veronica Burse, and Pereira.
With FAMU and B-CU playing solid softball, it would come down to defense as runs were at a premium. Wiggins knew that each score would be crucial. “It was a pitcher's duel. KP (Kenya Pereira) has for four years been there in that circle and it paid off. From the beginning of the season we had to learn how to persevere, control the controlables, and it brought us to this point, so they knew what they were capable of doing. They just had to trust and believe and that was our theme this year, ‘believe',” Wiggins said.
In the first game, FAMU scored the lone run of the bout in the top of the sixth, when Stoudemire lashed an RBI double, scoring Trinity Alexander, pinch running for Miesha McBride.
Pereira held the Wildcats to three hits in the opener, striking out three against no walks. Solid defense led by senior third baseman Fullwood kept the Wildcats off the board. “We have this tradition where we go to the beach and say what we are going to sacrifice and I said I was going to sacrifice my body and I meant it. I was not going to let anything get past me out there on defense. I was going to be on my ‘A' game so we could get this fourth ring,” Fullwood said.
In game two, Bethune-Cookman took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, on three hits and one error.
But, in the bottom of the third, the Rattlers took the lead with a four run rally on two hits, aided by two errors.
Stoudemire had an RBI double to score Shakayla Nixon for a 2-1 count. She later stole home to tie the game at 2-2, before Tashayla Irvis scored on a grounder by Alexis Day, and Fullwood scored from third on a throwing error.
After that, Pereira took center stage, pitching out of a one out, bases loaded jam in the top of the sixth, then allowing one hit before retiring the side in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Pereira scattered eight hits, allowed the two runs, with three strikeouts against one walk.
2017 MEAC-ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM & SUPERLATIVES
|Most Outstanding Coach||Veronica Wiggins||Florida A&M|
|Most Outstanding Player||Kenya Pereira||Florida A&M|
|Hannah Shields||Delaware State|
|Amber Fullwood||Florida A&M|
|Jamesia Stoudemire||Florida A&M|
|Veronica Burse||Florida A&M|
|Kenya Pereira||Florida A&M|
|Zadaisha Waddell||North Carolina A&T State|
|Domonique Wilson||North Carolina Central|
FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION