Sydney Carter held the red cereal box aloft, raising it above her head like a trophy.
The Mississippi State freshman stood next to home plate in a throng of teammates, waiting for catcher Mia Davidson to enter the fray before lowering the package and patting Davidson on the helmet.
It was a strange scene at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky — an entire college softball team revering a box of Lucky Charms like some sugary god.
But maybe, in context, it all makes sense. (Then again, maybe not).
It started the prior weekend, when Missouri visited Kentucky for a weekend series. The Tigers shellacked the Wildcats, sweeping the three-game set and winning twice by run rule.
Missouri fifth-year senior Kim Wert did particular damage, smashing four home runs on the weekend and going deep in every game. Wert finished the series 6 for 7 with 13 RBIs.
“When they played Kentucky, she was hitting tank after tank on them,” Davidson said.
ESPN analyst Jen Schroeder took notice of Wert’s final home run of the weekend, a grand slam in the Tigers’ 9-1 win April 25.
“What did (Wert) eat this weekend?” Schroeder asked on Twitter.
“I ate Lucky Charms … at least three bowls,” Wert replied.
Mississippi State visited Lexington the following weekend, and as fate would have it, the Bulldogs stayed in the very same hotel as the Tigers — the place Wert consumed the cereal.
That was all it took.
“And the next thing you know, Mia ate them, and Annie (Willis) is buying boxes, and they’re in the dugout, and everybody’s eating them before they go up to bat on Saturday,” Mississippi State coach Samantha Ricketts said. “Very superstitious sport, I would say, and that was one of them.”
Once the hotel ran out of the cereal, Willis’ sister Meg pitched in, making a Target run to provide extra ammunition.
The Bulldogs’ new edible talisman didn’t work in Friday’s game, a 7-3 loss, but it apparently kicked into gear the following day.
Davidson smashed a two-run home run in the sixth inning Saturday to provide key insurance as MSU went on to win 6-2. As she crossed the bases, Carter and the rest of the team carried the cereal box to the plate.
“Maybe this does work,” Davidson thought.
She was already sold, even before hitting her 20th home run of the season in the next day’s series finale.
“Something about those Lucky Charms,” Davidson tweeted at Wert after Saturday’s long ball.
“Oh you’re on the Lucky Charms grind too???” the Tigers star replied.
Mississippi State fell 9-5 in the final game, unable to take home a series win over the No. 11 Wildcats.
But a new, fun superstition was formed back in Lexington, and that’s what the Bulldogs care about.
“Again, for us, it’s about finding something to focus on that’s not the result — that’s not ‘we have to win, we have to do this,’ but ‘let’s have fun and do it together,’” Ricketts said.
“Whether it’s Lucky Charms or whatever it may be, we’re all for it.”
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.