Bailey Landry representing East Ascension well at LSU
The LSU softball team has exceeded everyone's preseason expectations and sky-rocketed to No.1.
Before last Friday night's loss to top-ranked Florida, the Lady Tigers had started the year a perfect 25-0. That set the record for most consecutive wins in LSU softball history, and it ranked only second to the 1980-81 men's basketball team's 26 straight wins.
Even after losing the Friday game to Florida, LSU won the next two to take the series. The huge series win and 27-1 record earned them their first ever No. 1 ranking.
This phenomenal start has had many driving forces. One of those forces has been Ascension's own Bailey Landry.
The former East Ascension Lady Spartan saw her share of action as a freshman last year and instantly showed her vast potential as she batted .386 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
It all led to her earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. She also made the SEC All-Tournament Team, and she was LSWA All-Louisiana Honorable Mention.
But this season, she has taken her game to a whole new level as she became a full-time starter.
During the early-season tear, Landry set a new school record for longest hitting streak with a new mark of 21.
Her great accomplishments have not gone unnoticed in her old stomping grounds.
"We're so proud of her. We always keep up with her and keep a close eye on how she's playing," Landry's former East Ascension head coach Amy Pitre said. "It's really amazing what she's doing at LSU and how she's representing our program."
Besides the new LSU record, Landry has really filled up the stat-sheet game in and game out.
She is currently batting a robust .467--which ranks third on the team, only behind A.J. Andrews and Bianka Bell.
Landry also has 25 RBIs--which again ranks third on the team--and she has a .533 on-base percentage. But she's not a one-dimensional player. She's playing just as well from the outfield, where she bolsters a 1.000 fielding percentage.
"She's so good because she's a triple-threat. She can run with her great speed and do so many things," Pitre said. "She can bunt, she can swing for power, she can slap for power. She can do pretty much whatever she wants to do, and that puts a lot of pressure on the other team. It's very hard to stop her."
Pitre had the privilege of coaching Landry throughout her entire high school career at East Ascension.
Landry helped lead the Lady Spartans to the state quarterfinals during her junior year.
In her senior season, she earned first-team all-district and All-State honors, and she was also selected to the MaxPreps and NFCA All-American teams.
She finished her high school career with a superb .537 batting average.
"She made it a lot easier for me as a coach," Pitre said. "It was just great to see her develop from the time she came in as a freshman until her senior year because she was such a hard worker. She worked really hard to develop all of her skills and be the great player she is today."
Landry and many other Lady Spartans have gone on to play college softball or committed to play on the next level throughout the years. Coach Pitre thinks that much of it has to do with their dedication as players.
"It really says a lot about our program, but it also says a lot about our players' commitment. They all work so hard to try to better themselves," Pitre said. "Bailey, Jessie Watts just committed to UL-Monroe, Claire Weinberger is an LSU commit--all three of those girls commit their offseasons and their summers to softball. They constantly buy in to the program, and they're all great leaders."
Landry will try to continue her monster sophomore season this weekend as her and the top-ranked Lady Tigers play a conference series on the road against Kentucky.