2011 ALL-LOUISIANA COLLEGIATE SOFTBALL TEAM
For release in morning newspapers (newsprint editions only — NOT WEBSITES) of Sunday, June 5;
available to all other media, including newspaper websites, after 11 p.m. CDT on Saturday, June 4
All-time list of All-Louisiana softball special awards (PDF file)
By Ed Cassiere
Sports Information Director, Xavier University
(written for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association)
Had there been a Comeback Player of the Year award on the 2011 All-Louisiana collegiate softball team, Ashley Brignac would've won that too.
But instead the Louisiana-Lafayette right-hander is back in familiar territory, winning Pitcher of the Year for the second time. The Ragin' Cajuns also lead the way again with five first-team All-Louisiana players, including outfielder Christi Orgeron, the Hitter of the Year.
The other special awards went to McNeese State outfielder Alanna DiVittorio and Louisiana College designated player Emily Douglas, who tied in voting for Freshman of the Year, and to LSU's Yvette Girouard, who in her final season was chosen Coach of the Year.
A 15-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association panel of media and sports publicists selected the All-Louisiana team, based on statistics and performances through the teams' conference tournaments.
Brignac, a junior from River Ridge, La., was the state's top pitcher as a freshman in 2008. But an injury to her throwing shoulder hampered her effectiveness in 2009 and forced her to redshirt in 2010 and miss all of last season. But after surgery and plenty of rehab, Brignac came back better than ever this year, going 32-7 with a 1.50 ERA and three no-hitters. She helped the Cajuns win the Sun Belt Conference and earn the program's 21st NCAA Tournament berth and 13th in a row. The Cajuns finished 51-11 and were runner-up to Houston in the NCAA Austin Regional.
What never suffered was her dedication in the classroom. A consistent 4.0 student since high school, Brignac was chosen Capital One Academic All-AmericaŽ of the Year among NCAA Division I softball players by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Her teammate, Orgeron, was equally stellar, hitting .414 with 23 homers and 101 RBIs and making the final 10 for USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year. Her runs batted in are the most in NCAA Division I since 1996, and her March 4 homer gave the Cajuns a 1-0 victory against then-top-ranked Alabama. Orgeron was All-Louisiana first team and Freshman of the Year in 2009, and she was second team a year ago.
McNeese's DiVittorio, an honorable-mention selection, hit .255 with eight homers, 30 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and a team-high 38 walks. She shared the state's top freshman award with Douglas, who cracked Louisiana College's lineup early because of injuries and finished with a .382 batting average and only three strikeouts in 106 plate appearances.
Douglas and UL Lafayette's Natalie Fernandez tied in votes for second-team designated player. Fernandez was one vote behind DiVittorio and Douglas in the Freshman of the Year balloting.
Girouard, retiring after 31 seasons as a collegiate head coach — 20 at UL Lafayette, the last 11 at LSU — is Louisiana Coach of the Year for a record 14th time and the fifth time at LSU. She led the Lady Tigers to their 10th NCAA Tournament berth during her tenure and a 40-18 final record. Her career record is 1,285-421-1 — 759-250 at UL Lafayette and 526-171-1 at LSU.
UL Lafayette's other first-team selections are Gabriele Bridges at first base, Paige Cormier at second base and Nerissa Myers at shortstop. The only other school with multiple first-teamers is Louisiana College, an NCAA Division III power which placed catcher Amber Thomas and outfielder Brittany Menard.
The other first-teamers are LSU pitcher Brittany Mack, Nicholls State third baseman Ashley Ray, Louisiana-Monroe outfielder Brianna Love, Northwestern State designated player Kylie Roos and Louisiana Tech's Janna Frandrup at utility.
Bridges, who hit .369 with 22 homers and 79 RBIs, is first-team All-Louisiana for the third consecutive year. ULM's Love, who hit .381 with 16 homers, 40 RBIs and 27 stolen bases, made the first team for the second time in three years. She was second team in 2010.
There could be plenty of repeat selections on next year's All-Louisiana team. Only three seniors made the first team and just one made the second team. That lone second-team senior is Louisiana College pitcher René Schwartzenburg, 75-9 in four collegiate seasons and on the second team a third straight time.
The other second-team players are first baseman Anissa Young, third baseman Tammy Wray and outfielder Simone Heyward of LSU, pitcher Kelee Grimes and second baseman Cali Burke of Northwestern, catcher Sarah Draheim of UL Lafayette, outfielder Claire Terracina of McNeese, outfielder Kelsey Nichols of Southeastern Louisiana, shortstop Shawntall Steamer of Southern and utility player Megan Gaspard of Nicholls. Young is on the second team for the second consecutive year.
Twenty-two players received honorable mention.