Parish softball players were off to great starts before cancellation

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

A couple of weeks ago, the NCAA announced that all spring sports would be cancelled due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus throughout the country.

One of the sports this order included was softball. This swift end to the season just halfway through the schedule sent shockwaves throughout the sports nation, and it also left many softball players, coaches and fans heartbroken.

Those emotions were also felt here in Ascension Parish as many of the college softball players that just had their seasons scrapped were from the area. And many of them were off to great starts.

No Louisiana college team was off to a better start than LSU. The Lady Tigers ran out to 21-3, and they were in the midst of a six-game winning streak when the NCAA cancelled the rest of the season.

LSU was ranked fifth nationally.

There are two Ascension Parish players on the Lady Tiger roster. They are East Ascension alum Claire Weinberger and former St. Amant Lady Gator Taylor Tidwell.

Weinberger had her senior season end abruptly. Before the cancellation, she had played in four games and started two for LSU.

The cancellation really put a damper on a breakout season for Tidwell. Back at St. Amant, she was one of the best hitters that Ascension Parish has ever seen, and she was beginning to carry that over to LSU.

She didn’t play much as a freshman, but during her sophomore campaign, Tidwell had started 17 games and was hitting a gaudy .351 with 14 RBIs and three home runs. She also had an on-base percentage of .489.

There were also standouts from East Ascension and St. Amant playing at UL-Monroe.

Although the team was off to a rocky start at 10-14, both Jessie Watts and Kennedy Page were playing extremely well individually.

Watts, an East Ascension alum, is a senior for UL-Monroe. She started all 24 games this season and was hitting a superb .355 with 19 RBIs and two home runs. Her on-base percentage was .410.

In addition to playing the infield, Watts also pitched. She had made six appearances in the circle this season.

Page is a sophomore. She began her high-school career at Dutchtown, before transferring to St. Amant as a junior and having a huge senior campaign with the Lady Gators.

Page, a utility player, started 16 games for UL-Monroe this season. She hit .326 with six RBIs.

Another former Lady Griffin that was playing college ball was Ali McCoy.

McCoy was in the middle of her senior season with Southeastern when things were immediately halted.

The Lady Lions were off to a great start, going 15-8 and beginning 2-1 in Southland Conference play.

McCoy, a utility player, started 21 games and hit .321 with five RBIs and a home run. Her on-base percentage was .397.

Outside of LSU, the best college softball team in Louisiana was UL-Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns were off to an 18-6 start. When the season was cancelled, they were fresh off of a series win over sixth-ranked Florida.

UL-Lafayette was ranked seventh nationally.

Playing for the Cajuns was St. Amant alum Kourtney Gremillion. As a redshirt sophomore, Gremillion was an All-Sun Belt player, hitting .347 with 31 RBIs and five home runs.

She was hampered with injuries to begin the 2020 season. It limited her to just 13 games played and two starts at first base.

Seniors like Weinberger, Watts and McCoy still might have a chance to come back and finish their college careers. The NCAA is currently discussing the option of granting seniors of 2020 spring sports an extra year of eligibility.