Gremillion has jersey retired at team banquet

Kyle Riviere
Kara Gremillion became the fifth Lady Gator to ever have her jersey retired. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

St. Amant softball honored one of the greatest players in their program's history on Aug. 13, as they retired the jersey of Kara Gremillion.

The celebration was part of St. Amant's annual softball banquet at the Clarion Inn.

With the retiring of her No. 22 jersey, Gremillion becomes just the fifth Lady Gator to ever have such an honor bestowed upon them.

In her four years at the school, she has had one of the most decorated careers of any St. Amant athlete.

She played in three sports this year--volleyball, basketball and softball--and she was named district MVP in all three.

It led her to being named the Baton Rouge area's female Athlete of the Year for the second straight year. Gremillion is one of only three athletes to ever achieve that feat.

She was also named the Gatorade Louisiana Softball Player of the Year. Assistant coach Leah Heintze and Kellie Eubanks were the only other Lady Gators to earn that award.

For her senior season, Gremillion hit .584 with six home runs and 36 RBIs.

Amazingly, she only struck out 10 times over the course of her four years at St. Amant. She struck out only twice during her senior season.

She was a first-team All-State selection in three of her four years.

"I coached her for four years. I can describe her like this: tremendous competitor and extremely coachable with a great attitude and work ethic," Nielson said. "She's a great teammate, and she leads by example on and off of the field. She's an academic achiever, incredible athlete and always straight money when you need her to be."

Gremillion is now ready to begin the next phase of her softball career at UL-Lafayette.

Having her jersey retired wasn't the only honor she took home that night.

Coach Nielson joked that she should have sat in the front row because of how many times she had to walk up front to accept awards.

Among the many honors she claimed were the team's Academic MVP award and the Coach I Memorial Award.

That award is named after the late Jimmy Iturralde, who led the Lady Gators to their first state title back in 2002.

Iturralde was diagnosed with liver cancer not long afterward. He eventually would succumb to the disease later that year.

The award named in his honor goes to a senior that is not only a great player, but one that exemplifies leadership and shows her merits on and off of the field.

Gremillion wasn't the only person to get a jersey retired for them last Wednesday night.

A jersey was retired in honor of longtime supporter Clark Lambert, the man nicknamed the "Mayor of St. Amant."

Clark has been a fixture of St. Amant High School for the past 40 years.

Though he retired as the school's custodian last year, he is still a constant at St. Amant sporting events.

Finally, Nielson honored the players that played so hard this season.

Though they had to replace plenty of starters from 2013-14, the Lady Gators completed an undefeated regular season for the first time in school history.

They won their 16th district title and made the state tournament for the 14th time in 15 years before losing to eventual champion Sam Houston in the semifinals.

"Before the season, there were a whole lot of questions about what was going to happen with this year's team," Nielson said. "The coaching staff was very confident that with the players stepping in and with the leadership in the locker room, it was going to be a special season. The girls did an amazing job dealing with the pressure and expectations."

Nielson commended his team for being the 24th St. Amant squad to make the playoffs (they've never missed out in the program's history) and helping push the program's winning percentage to an amazing 87 percent since 2002.

"They love the game; they love each other," Nielson said. "They love being around each other in the locker room. That's what's so special about this group of kids."