Best parish softball teams of the decade

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic cancelled the second half of the high-school softball season, putting an end to the championship dreams of all of the players throughout the state.

With no state tournament games being played this year, it prompts us to look to the past and reflect on all of the great parish teams that made memorable runs.

By the time the next softball season begins, it will be a new decade. Here is a look back at some of the best Ascension softball teams of this decade, years 2010-2020.

It’s no surprise that St. Amant was the most consistently successful parish program during this time span. They made four state semifinal appearances in the decade and won one state title.

The 2019 Lady Gators went 28-2-1 overall and beat Barbe in a thrilling come-from-behind championship game. It was the program’s first state title since 2006.

St. Amant was led in the circle by Southeastern signee Alyssa Romano, who was named both the District 5-5A MVP and the Ascension Parish MVP.

In games that were decided by three runs or less, the Lady Gators went 9-1.

St. Amant also made runs to the state semifinals in back-to-back years—2012 and 2013. The most impressive of these two teams was the 2013 squad.

The Lady Gators went 27-3 that year and entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the state. They went on to lose a tight 4-2 contest to eventual state champion Sam Houston in the semifinals.

That St. Amant team was loaded with talent. It included Southeastern signee pitcher Casey Nielson.

They also had Madison Edmonston, Jaci Lavigne and Jordan Hartman—who all went on to play at LSU-Eunice. Edmonston finished out her collegiate career at Southeastern.

The 2013 Lady Gators also featured a young Kara Gremillion.

She also led another St. Amant squad to an impressive run to Sulphur. The 2015 Lady Gators were one of the most talented teams the school has ever had.

Kara and Kourtney Gremillion both went on to start at UL-Lafayette, while a young Taylor Tidwell went on to start at LSU. McKenzie King signed with LSU-Eunice.

They also featured first-team all-district players like Gabby Sharp, Jadyn Rumfellow and Abby McKey.

St. Amant averaged 12 runs per game that season and only played in three games that were decided by three runs or less.

They entered the state semifinals a perfect 27-0, before losing a 3-1 contest to eventual champion Sam Houston.

Two other parish teams made the semifinals that year.

Dutchtown went 26-9 in 2015, and made an improbable run to the state championship game. They lost a tight contest to Sam Houston, 3-1.

That Lady Griffin team had a lot of talent. They were led by Ali McCoy, Royelle Cobb, Blayne Pence, Taylor Heck and Hope Vezinat. All five went on to sign with colleges.

East Ascension also made it to the semifinals that year.

The Lady Spartans went 23-8 during the season and were just one game away from the state title matchup. But they were eliminated by Dutchtown, 4-2.

That was the most talented team East Ascension had in the decade.

They had district Co-MVP and UL-Monroe signee Jessie Watts and LSU signee Claire Weinberger. Verlencia Jackson and Taja Landry also both signed with colleges.

The 2011 Lady Spartans also reached the state semifinals, before losing a 10-8 contest to Denham Springs. That team was led by a young Bailey Landry, who went on to become an LSU legend.

Ascension Catholic has had some impressive teams as well.

In 2014, ace Julia Beck and LSU-Eunice signee Rae’Shaun Melancon helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 25-7 record and a berth in the Class 1A state title game. There, the team lost to Cedar Creek.

But Beck and Melancon led the Lady Bulldogs back to Sulphur in 2016. That was probably Ascension Catholic’s most talented team in the decade.

They went 16-8 during the regular season, with all of their losses coming to upper-classification schools.

Beck was first-team All-State and Melancon was the district MVP.

Ascension Catholic won the league championship and made a run to the state semifinals, but they were eliminated by eventual champion CHSPC.