The official softball season might have come to a close with the State Softball Tournament in Sulphur a few weeks ago, but action picked right back up in Pineville this past weekend.
There, the Louisiana High School Coaches Association All-Star games kicked off at Louisiana College, and three Ascension players filled the roster for the East squad.
Representing St. Amant was pitcher Kasey Nielson. Nielson was District 5-5A's Co-MVP and helped lead the Lady Gators to a 24-2 regular-season record and trip to the state semifinals where they lost to eventual state champion Sam Houston 4-2.
The state title was Sam Houston's second straight 5A title, and it was their third straight overall championship.
Prior to St. Amant's loss to the Lady Broncos, they had won 27 straight games. Nielson pitched many of the victories as she won more than 20 games and lost only twice all year.
Bailey Landry represented East Ascension. The LSU signee joined Nielson as District 5-5A's Co-MVP. She helped lead the Lady Spartans to a 19-8 overall record and No. 8 seeding in the playoffs before they were upset by Sulphur 8-3 in the opening round.
For Dutchtown, Aleah Craighton was selected to the all-star game. Craighton was not only the Lady Griffins' best pitcher, but she was a terror from the plate as she garnered first-team all-district honors.
She helped lead Dutchtown to a 19-7 regular-season record and berth in the State Softball Tournament. They were forced to feel the same frustration that St. Amant felt in the semis. Sam Houston proved to be a thorn in the Lady Griffins' side as they rolled past them 7-1 in the quarterfinals.
The first LHSCA All-Star Game got under way Friday night. It didn't go so well for Craighton, Landry and Nielson's East squad as they were pummeled 10-4 despite collecting 10 hits.
Landry, acting as the team's designated hitter, had the biggest impact as she ripped an RBI-single that drove in Ruston's Kendall Smith in the first inning.
That early lead eventually carried over to the sixth where they led 4-3. However, it's there that the West took complete control.
Comeaux's Hali Williams collected an RBI-double, and Evangel's Baylee Shephard followed with a two-RBI single that swelled the lead out to 7-4.
And in the seventh, it was much of the same for the West. After an error-plagued inning by the East, they collected three more runs to cruise in game one 10-4.
Things went much smoother for Ascension's stars and the rest of their East roster in Saturday's game two. The two teams ended the day's action locked in a 3-3 tie.
For the second straight game, Landry somehow contributed to the East taking the opening lead. She came home in the first after Nielson sent a sacrifice fly into centerfield.
In the third, with the game tied at 1-1, Landry scored again when Nielson saw two wild pitches come her way. Both got past the catcher allowing Landry and Ruston's Kendall Smith to come home.
That gave the East a 3-1 lead, but the West answered right back at the bottom of the inning when Sam Houston's LSU signee and 2013's Miss Softball Baylee Corbello and Berwick's Abigail Ohlin both scored on a two-RBI double by St. Thomas More's Sarah Arceneaux.
The flurry knotted the game up at 3-3. No more runs were scored for the rest of the game, and tit ended with the tie.
It marked the second straight year that the West won the first game while the second game ended in a tie. Last season, the West won 10-3 in game one while the second game ended in a 2-2 tie.
Landry had a great day for the East squad as she went 2-3 from the plate and scored two of the team's three runs.
Smith of Ruston and Williams of Comeaux received the all-star games' Outstanding Player awards for their respective squads.