Notre Dame duo headlines All-Acadia Parish softball team
CROWLEY – The distractions were plentiful for the Notre Dame Lady Pios’ softball team before the 2013 season even began.
For starters, the Lady Pios were adapting to newly-hired head coach Megan Granger after former coach Lauren Delahoussaye left to take the head job at her alma mater, Teurlings.
Then, the Lady Pios lost a key senior starter prior to the season when Katherine Kirsch went down with an ACL tear during basketball season.
Making matters worse, Granger bolted from the program just weeks before the start of the season to take a coaching position at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Needless to say, there were a lot of concerns heading into what had looked to be a promising season.
That was until Dusty Collette stepped in.
Collette, who had never coached softball before, took over the Lady Pios’ program and, well, the rest was history.
Collette guided the Lady Pios to a remarkable record of 27-8 in his first season and took the Lady Pios all the way to the Class 3A state championship game where they dropped a 9-0 decision to Brusly.
“I knew coming in that we had some pretty good players and I figured that we would be successful and win some games but I really didn’t envision, at that time, that we would be as successful as we were,” admitted Collette, who was named the 2013 All-Acadia Parish softball Coach of the Year for his efforts.. “But once we hit the practice field, I could see that this team was special.
“They showed up every day ready to work and you could tell that they really wanted a successful season and they didn’t want the distractions to ruin it.”
Any thoughts of Collette just being a fill-in coach were put to rest early on and helped ease the pressure for the youthful team.
“I did my best to keep them motivated,” said Collette. “With the coaches (Delahousaye and Granger) leaving and everything, you don’t want them (players) to hang their heads and feel abandoned. I tried my best to keep their spirits high and throughout the season, they kind of saw that I was really into it. They just kept on working and that hard work got us to where we were.”
The Lady Pios started the season off with a record of 10-5, dropping a pair of games to eventual 4A state champion St. Thomas More, one game to 4A runnerup Teurlings and one to Class 5A’s St. Joseph and one to North Vermilion.
Then they really got hot.
The Lady Pios reeled off 11 straight victories after that and swept through the Brusly tournament with victories over Parkview, Franklinton and Morgan City.
And that was the turning point, said Collette.
“There were different moments in games during the year that were really promising,” said Collette. “But in the Brusly tournament, we went over there and that’s when I knew we had something special. It was just the attitude in the tournament environment. I think it was there that we all started to realize that we could do some big things.”
The Lady Pios went on to win District 4-3A with a 9-1 record and earn the No. 6 seed in the playoffs. They knocked off Kaplan in the quarterfinal round at the Fast Pitch 56 Tournament before unleashing a 21-hit barrage against 2012 Class 3A state MVP pitcher Mikayla Brown in a 16-12 victory over No. 2 Buckeye to reach the state finals.
The Lady Pios’ roster was filled from top to bottom with a talented group of players.
However, the one that stood out the most, both on and off the field, was senior Taylor Boulet.
“I knew coming in, from what I had heard, that Taylor was a solid player,” said Collette of Boulet, on of three senior starters. “But she exceeded all my expectations. I can say the same for all of them, but she led by example. She said things when she had to but she led more by her actions. The younger players saw how she carried herself and her work ethic. She did everything the right way.”
The LSU-Eunice signee hit .415 on the season from the leadoff spot and scored a team-high 45 runs en route to being named the All-Acadia Parish Most Valuable Player.
“Offensively, she set the tone for us out of the leadoff spot,” said Collette of Boulet, who had a .638 on base percentage. “It was pretty much automatic that she would get on base. When she was at the plate, you didn’t know if it was going to be a shot off the wall or a bunt or something that she was going to beat out, but you knew pretty much that she was going to get there.
“As a coach, you love that from a leadoff hitter. She did a great job for us and once she was on the bases, she has speed and she is such a smart runner. You know if anything got in the gap, she has the speed to get those extra bases.”
Boulet, a speedy third baseman, also logged 14 doubles, six triples, one home run and 23 RBI in addition to being nearly perfect in stolen bases with 16 swipes in 17 attempts.
In the field, she was just as impressive.
Boulet had a team-high 94 total chances on the infield and committed just 15 errors in 35 games for a fielding percentage of .840.
“Taylor was just a vacuum at third base,” said Collette. “She always knew where to go with the ball.”
Her speed also aided in her fielding.
“A lot of teams came in and tried to play small ball and bunt down the line,” said Collette. “She (Boulet) takes that away from you. A lot of teams tried it and she was pretty much there every time. That was huge for us, just knowing she was right there on the corner for anything, a bunt or a hard shot, she had it.
“All around, she’s just one of those players that has very few weaknesses and we’re really going to miss that.”
The rest of the field
Notre Dame dominated the All-Parish softball team by earning seven selections.
Joining Boulet are Mollie Stelly, Zoie Lavergne, Alexa Thibodeaux, Allie Daigle, Taylor Satchell, Elise LeBeouf and Brittney Nolan.
Stelly and Lavergne both made the team as pitchers.
Stelly posted an earned run average of 2.38 in 170 innings of work. She struck out 193 and walked just 21.
Lavergne toed the rubber for 57 1/3 innings and racked up 82 strikeouts.
Both were a force at the plate as well.
Stelly hit .309 with six doubles, two home runs and 29 RBI while Lavergne hit for a .341 clip with 10 doubles and 24 RBI.
Thibodeaux, also an LSU-Eunice signee, made the team at catcher after hitting .425 with 10 doubles, four triples and a league-leading six home runs. She also drove in 41 RBI.
Satchell, a sophomore, hit .378 with 12 doubles, six triples, three home runs and 40 RBI to grab a spot at shortstop.
LeBeouf and Nolan each earned a spot in the outfield.
LeBeouf hit a team-high .524 with eight doubles, four triples, one home run and 26 RBI while Nolan hit .405 with 31 RBI.
Crowley’s landed two spots in pitcher Olivia Boullion and outfielder Heather Trahan.
Boullion had an ERA of 1.13 and racked up 174 strikeouts in 185 innings. She also hit .385 with nine doubles, five triples, three home runs and 35 RBI.
Trahan hit .379 with four doubles, seven triples, one home run and 32 RBI. She also swiped 16 bases and was caught stealing just once.
Northside Christian nabbed two spots in pitcher Madisyn Clement and outfielder Kristen Spell.
Clement, a Class C All-State selection, racked up 34 strikeouts in 61 innings after taking over the pitching duties late in the season. She also hit .297 with six doubles, two triples and 19 RBI while striking out just four times in 92 plate appearances.
Spell, a senior, lead the Lady Warriors in nearly every offensive category. She hit for an average of .463 and had 13 doubles, four triples, one home run and 32 RBI.
Iota’s McKenzie Armand earned a spot as a utility player while Sarah Johnson got on as a pitcher.
Armand, a sophomore, led District 5-2A with a batting average of .667. She had 20 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 39 RBI in 28 games.
Johnson, a freshman, went 3-3 in league play and logged 19 strikeouts during that period. She also hit .500 with seven doubles and 12 RBI.
Rayne landed four players on the team in All-State honorable mention catcher Alex Peltier, pitcher Kelcie Bourgeois, first baseman Amanda Bourque and utility player Katelyn LeDoux.
Peltier, the District 5-3A MVP, hit .258 on the season with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 17 RBI.
Bourgeois was 7-3 on the mound in district play and she struck out 129 in 166 innings of work.
Bourque hit .363 with 26 RBI while LeDoux hit for a .340 clip with four doubles and eight RBI.
Church Point’s Olivia Daigle and Shaina Alleman round out the team.
Daigle made it as a pitcher after going 16-9 on the season with 93 strikeouts in 158 innings. Alleman grabbed a utility spot after hitting .455 with 15 doubles and 25 RBI.
Honorable mentions include Iota’s Cameron Crochet; Crowley High’s Kristen Bonin and Taylor Grabowski; Notre Dame’s Megan Murrell; Church Point’s McKenzie Dailey and Northside Christian’s Zoie Hanagriff, Leah Monte and Sydni Guidry.