2009 ALL-LOUISIANA COLLEGIATE SOFTBALL TEAM
For release in morning newspapers of Wednesday, June 3; available to other media after 11 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, June 2
By Ed Cassiere
Sports Information Director, Xavier University
(written for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association)
And now for something completely different: Louisiana Tech's Amberly Waits and Louisiana College's Tim Whitman broke the strangleholds of traditional powers Louisiana-Lafayette and LSU on the 2009 All-Louisiana softball team.
Waits, a junior shortstop from Cleburne, Texas, was selected Hitter of the Year the first time in seven years that UL Lafayette or LSU did not receive the award. Whitman is the Coach of the Year the first time in 11 seasons that the Ragin' Cajuns or Tigers didn't earn that award.
The Cajuns and Tigers still are prominent on this year's team. They combined for eight of the 11 first-team selections, with UL Lafayette collecting six, including Pitcher of the Year Donna Bourgeois and utility player Christi Orgeron, the Freshman of the Year. LSU outfielder Kirsten Shortridge was unanimously selected Newcomer of the Year.
A Louisiana Sports Writers Association panel selected the All-Louisiana team based on nominations by the softball-playing four-year colleges and universities in the state. Voting was based on statistics and performances through the teams' conference tournaments.
Waits, an All-West Region selection, set Tech season records with her .488 batting average, 81 hits, 17 home runs, 62 RBIs, 155 total bases and .934 slugging percentage. She was the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year the Lady Techsters' first to be named conference player of the year and raised her batting average by more than 100 points and her fielding percentage by more than 50 points from 2008, when she was first-team All-Louisiana.
It was the second straight year that Waits set Tech season records for hits, total bases and batting average.
Whitman is the first from a non-NCAA Division I school to be Louisiana Coach of the Year in softball, but he's no Johnny-come-lately. He has nearly 300 victories and has won more than 80 percent of his games in eight seasons at Louisiana College. This season Whitman guided the Lady Wildcats to a 38-9 record, a fifth consecutive appearance in an NCAA Division III regional tournament and a No. 1 national ranking for the third straight season.
Bourgeois, a sophomore from Lafayette and the state Freshman of the Year in 2008, was 29-8 with a 1.10 ERA and the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year. She struck out 289 in 222.1 innings, pitched 11 shutouts and combined on five more.
Orgeron, from New Orleans, hit .320 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs. She was the Sun Belt Freshman of Year and the most outstanding player of the conference tournament, which the Cajuns won for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
LSU's Shortridge, a junior from Keller, Texas, hit .429 with three homers and 23 RBIs and was an NFCA third-team All-American. She was the runner-up to Waits in voting for Hitter of the Year.
The remainder of the first team consists of UL Lafayette's Lana Bowers at catcher, Gabriele Bridges at first base, Melissa Verde at third base and Karli Hubbard in the outfield, LSU's Cody Trahan at pitcher, Nicholls State's Danielle Clayton at second base and Louisiana-Monroe's Brianna Love in the outfield.
Verde (.331, eight homers, 58 RBIs) and Hubbard (.429, 20 RBIs, seven strikeouts in 207 plate appearances, third-team All-America) are repeat All-Louisiana first-team selections. Bowers hit .253 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs and was All-Sun Belt, and Bridges hit .296 with 16 homers and 48 RBIs.
Trahan was an All-South Region pitcher who was 11-6 with a 2.31 ERA, and eight of her victories were against Southeastern Conference opponents. Clayton was All-Southland Conference for Nicholls State after hitting .272 with two homers and 18 RBIs. Love was All-South Region and hit .378 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs. She led the Warhawks in 10 offensive categories and had 11 assists from the outfield.
The second team includes three players each from Louisiana College and two apiece from Tech and Southern. Representing Louisiana College are utility player McCaslin Carson, a second-team pitcher in 2008, outfielder Caitlin Bankston and pitcher René Schwartzenburg.
The rest of the second team consists of pitcher Meghan Krieg and Kylie Bassett from Tech, catcher Aruba Nicholas and second Chastoni Jones of Southern, third baseman Heather Sherrill of Southeastern Louisiana, shortstop Sloane Laiche of NAIA member LSU-Alexandria and outfielders Rachel Mitchell of LSU and Lindsey Smith of Centenary.
Eighteen players received honorable mention, including Southern shortstop Audrey Phillips, the runner-up to Orgeron in voting for Freshman of the Year.
Also receiving votes for Coach of the Year were Louisiana Tech's Sarah Dawson and McNeese State's Natalie Poole.