UL-Lafayette's Craighton earns prestigious award

Kyle Riviere
Aleah Craighton has collected at least 50 RBIs in back-to-back seasons at UL-Lafayette. Photo courtesy of RaginCajuns.com.

When she was at Dutchtown, she was one of the most heralded softball players in the area. Now, she’s one of the top players in the country.

The accomplishments and honors continued to shower over UL-Lafayette redshirt junior and former Lady Griffin standout Aleah Craighton recently as she was named the Sun Belt Conference Female Student-Athlete of the Year.

This award is considered the highest individual honor in the conference.

It wasn’t hard to see that Craighton was on her way to being a special player when she was at Dutchtown. In her senior season, she led the Lady Griffins to the state quarterfinals.

She was not only their ace in the circle, but she was their top hitter as she earned first-team all-district and All-State honors.

Craighton signed with UL-Lafayette in 2013. She redshirted her freshman season.

By the time the next season rolled around, Craighton had worked herself into the starting lineup. She has been starting ever since.

In the past three years, she has helped lead the Cajuns to three straight Sun Belt regular-season titles, and they have won two conference tournament championships.

They have also reached the NCAA Tournament in all three years. In fact, UL-Lafayette has reached a regional for 19 consecutive seasons.

In all three years as a starter, Craighton has hit double-digit home runs and collected at least 40 RBIs. She has piled up at least 50 RBIs in back-to-back seasons.

This past season, she helped lead the Cajuns to a 47-8 overall record.

They reached the Baton Rouge Regional and were one victory away from advancing to the Super Regional, but on the final day, they were defeated by LSU—ending their season.

Head coach Michael Lotief said, “I’m never going to be disappointed in this group because they’ve always loved each other, they’ve always played hard and they’ve always given it everything they’ve had. Even until the last out, they were fighting.”

For the season, Craighton hit .345—which was fourth on the team with a minimum of 74 at-bats.

She was second on the team in home runs with 18, and she was also second on the team in RBIs with 53.

Craighton led the team in on-base percentage with a .536 average.

These tremendous stats allowed Craighton to be named first-team All-Sun Belt for a second straight season.