Three parish products make All-Louisiana softball team
It was a superb year for Louisiana college softball as multiple state schools reached the NCAA Tournament and a plethora of players put up huge numbers and took their place as Louisiana elite.
These women were honored recently with the release of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 2017 All-Louisiana Collegiate Softball Team.
What made this list so special to the people of Ascension was that three former parish greats were recognized.
From LSU, East Ascension alum Bailey Landry was named first-team All-Louisiana, and from UL-Lafayette, Dutchtown’s Aleah Craighton and St. Amant’s Kara Gremillion were both first-team selections.
A LSWA panel of media and sports publicists selected the All-Louisiana team, based on statistics and performances through the teams’ conference tournaments.
UL-Lafayette had the most first-team selection of any state team for the 10th straight year.
Cajun junior shortstop DJ Sanders was named Hitter of the Year.
Craighton also had a phenomenal season as the redshirt junior helped lead UL-Lafayette to the Baton Rouge Regional, where they fell short against LSU.
In all three seasons as a starter, Craighton has hit double-digit home runs and collected at least 40 RBIs. She has at least 50 RBIs in back-to-back seasons.
This year, Craighton finished with a .345 batting average—which was fourth on the team with a minimum of 74 at-bats. She was second on the Cajun squad in home runs with 18, and she was second in RBIs with 53.
Craighton was also a first-team All-Sun Belt selection, Sun Belt Conference Female Student-Athlete of the Year and first-team NFCA All-American.
Gremillion is the only true sophomore on the All-Louisiana first team. She has been starting since her freshman season.
Gremillion began her career batting in the nine-hole, but this season, she worked her way into the leadoff spot.
She ended the regular season with only 10 strikeouts in 193 plate appearances and a streak of 40 straight games reaching base.
She ended the year hitting .320 with 31 RBIs and was a first-team All-Sun Belt selection.
Finally, Landry earned first-team All-Louisiana honors for LSU, along with being named first-team All-SEC and first-team NFCA All-American.
In helping carry the Lady Tigers to a third straight Women’s College World Series appearance, Landry led the team with a .402 batting average and 35 RBIs.
Landry has been starting for LSU ever since her freshman season and ended her career by setting two school records.
She is now the Lady Tigers’ all-time hits leader, and she broke Ashlee Ducote’s 17-year-old record for most hits in a single season. Landry collected 92 in 2017.
Landry was selected fifth overall by the Texas Charge (McKinney, Texas) in the 2017 National Pro Fastpitch Draft.
With her college career now over, Landry took to Twitter last week to thank “Tiger Nation” for the memories.
She said, “What a journey. I can’t express how much it has meant to me to represent LSU these past four years. It was more than just a place to play softball for me, it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to be a Tiger, and ever day, I wore those colors with pride.
“Every World Series, every record, all the history, smiles, tears, hard days, big stages, walk-offs, road losses, cheers, all the crazy—every bit of it wouldn’t be as valuable without each of the others. I could go on and on about the unbelievable things I’ve experienced over the past four years, but to sum it up—the Lord has truly blessed me. Thank you, Tiger Nation, for the experience of a lifetime. Forever LSU.”
In addition to Landry, LSU junior hurler Allie Walljasper was named the state’s Pitcher of the Year.