Hoover Leads Softball On LSWA Softball Teams
By Ed Cassiere
Sports Information Director, Xavier University (written for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association)
Two for Lexie Elkins, two for Carley Hoover, two for Louisiana-Lafayette and two for Nicholls State. That’s a quick summary of major awards on the 2016 All-Louisiana collegiate softball team.
Elkins, UL Lafayette’s two-time first-team All-America catcher, is the state’s Hitter of the Year for the second time in three seasons. Hoover, an LSU sophomore right-hander, repeated as Pitcher of the Year but shares the honor this time with the Ragin’ Cajuns Alex Stewart. And for the first time in its history, Nicholls State won two major state awards in the same season — shortstop Amanda Gianelloni is Freshman of the Year, and Angel Santiago is Coach of the Year.
A 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.
Elkins, a senior from Victoria, Texas, missed the final 18 regular-season games because of a thumb injury but still produced outstanding numbers: a .517 batting average, 17 home runs and 44 RBI. She hit .430 in three seasons with the Cajuns and set an NCAA Division I career record with 0.50 home runs per game (75 in 150 games). The Cajuns won Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament championships and earned a berth in an NCAA Super Regional.
Elkins was the No. 1 overall pick of National Pro Fastpitch (Pennsylvania Rebellion) April 14.
Hoover, from Clemson, S.C., was 18-7 with a 2.37 ERA and 194 strikeouts. She tied an LSU record by winning her first 10 decisions, and she struck out a career-best 15 batters Feb. 28 against Texas Tech. She pitched her first collegiate no-hitter March 6 against Tennessee Tech. LSU reached the Women’s College World Series for the second consecutive year.
Stewart, a junior right-hander from Zionsville, Ind., was 27-4 with a 1.52 ERA. She led the state in victories, didn’t walk a batter in her first 35 2/3 innings, won twice against then-fifth-ranked Oregon and was second-team All-America.
Elkins received 12-of-17 votes for Hitter of the Year and won easily over McNeese State catcher Erika Piancastelli and LSU third baseman Bianka Bell, the 2015 Hitter of the Year. Hoover and Stewart received seven votes apiece for Pitcher of the Year.
Gianelloni, from Napoleonville, La., hit .391 with seven home runs and 40 RBI. She was the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year and the only freshman voted first-team All-Southland. She is the Colonels’ second Louisiana Freshman of the Year and the first since Phyllis Guedry in 1990.
Santiago, in his fifth season at Nicholls, led the Colonels to their most overall victories (39-17) and conference victories (21-5) since 1998. Nicholls placed second in the Southland regular season after being picked in preseason polls to finish seventh and eighth.
UL Lafayette and LSU combined for nine of the 12 All-Louisiana first-team selections. For the ninth consecutive year, the Cajuns lead the state in first-team selections. They produced five, the same as a year ago.
Joining Elkins and Stewart on the first team are teammates Aleah Craighton and Shellie Landry in the outfield and Haley Hayden at second base. LSU placed Hoover, Bell, Sandra Simmons (first base) and Sahvanna Jaquish (designated player) on the first team.
The Cajuns’ Hayden is first-team All-Louisiana for the third consecutive year and the second straight time at second base. She was an outfielder in 2014.
LSU’s Bell, a shortstop the previous three seasons, is first-team All-Louisiana for the fourth consecutive year. She capped her career by hitting .395 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI. Simmons made the first team for the second time in three years, and Jaquish is first team for the third consecutive season.
Also on the first team are Nicholls’ Gianelloni, Louisiana-Monroe’s Rochelle Roberts in the outfield and McNeese’s Emily Vincent at utility. Vincent is first team for the second consecutive year.
UL Lafayette and McNeese have three apiece on the second team. The Cajuns’ honorees are Kara Gremillion at third base, DJ Sanders at shortstop and Sara Corbello at designated player. The McNeese second-team selections are Piancastelli, Jamie Allred at pitcher and Hailey Drew at second base.
Also on the second team are first baseman Kim Gonzalez and third baseman Heather Bunn of LSU-Alexandria, outfielder Bailey Landry and utility Allie Walljasper of LSU, pitcher Hannah Haydel of Nicholls State and outfielders Katie Lacour of Southeastern Louisiana and Morgan Turkoly of Louisiana Tech. Lacour stole 58 bases and led NCAA Division I in steals per game.
Twelve student-athletes received honorable mention. This is the 31st year of All-Louisiana softball selections.
2016 ALL-LOUISIANA COLLEGIATE SOFTBALL TEAM
(statistics do not include NCAA or NAIA tournament games)
Position Name School Yr. Hometown Notes
Pitcher Carley Hoover LSU So. Clemson, S.C. 18-7, 2.37 ERA, All-SEC second team, All-South Region second team
Pitcher Alex Stewart Louisiana-Lafayette Jr. Zionsville, Ind. 27-4, 1.52 ERA, NFCA All-America second team, Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year
Catcher Lexie Elkins Louisiana-Lafayette Sr. Victoria, Texas .517, 17 HR, 44 RBI, NFCA All-America first team, Sun Belt Player of the Year
First Base Sandra Simmons LSU Sr. Fountain Valley, Calif. .369, 4 HR, 30 RBI, All-South Region third team
Second Base Haley Hayden Louisiana-Lafayette Jr. West Monroe, La. .368, 7 HR, 44 RBI, All-Sun Belt second team, Academic All-District
Third Base Bianka Bell LSU Sr. Tampa, Fla. .395, 12 HR, 58 RBI, NFCA All-America third team, All-SEC first team
Shortstop Amanda Gianelloni Nicholls State Fr. Napoleonville, La. .391, 7 HR, 40 RBI, Southland Conference Freshman of the Year
Outfield Aleah Craighton Louisiana-Lafayette So. Prairieville, La. .391, 17 HR, 53 RBI, NFCA All-America first team, All-Sun Belt first team
Outfield Shellie Landry Louisiana-Lafayette Sr. Broussard, La. .325, 15 HR, 54 RBI, All-Sun Belt first team
Outfield Rochelle Roberts Louisiana-Monroe Jr. Vacaville, Calif. .483, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 33-of-36 stolen bases, All-Sun Belt first team
Designated Player Sahvanna Jaquish LSU Jr. Highland, Calif. .349, 12 HR, 65 RBI, NFCA All-America third team
Utility Emily Vincent McNeese State Sr. Sulphur, La. .307, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 16-3 as pitcher with 1.60 ERA, All-Southland first team
Hitter of the Year: Lexie Elkins, Louisiana-Lafayette
Pitcher of the Year: (tie) Carley Hoover, LSU; Alex Stewart, Louisiana-Lafayette
Newcomer of the Year: no nominees
Freshman of the Year: Amanda Gianelloni, Nicholls State
Coach of the Year: Angel Santiago, Nicholls State
Position Name School Yr. Hometown Notes
Pitcher Jamie Allred McNeese State Sr. Hallsville, Texas 17-3, 1.71 ERA, McNeese career leader in wins, shutouts
Pitcher Hannah Haydel Nicholls State Sr. Ama, La. 23-8, 1.53 ERA, 2 saves, Southland Pitcher of the Year
Catcher Erika Piancastelli McNeese State So. Carlsbad, Calif. .420, 21 HR, 47 RBI, Southland Player of the Year, NFCA All-America second team
First Base Kim Gonzalez LSU-Alexandria Sr. El Paso, Texas .477, 5 HR, 46 RBI, All-Red River first team
Second Base Hailey Drew McNeese State So. Fallbrook, Calif. .325, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 19 HBP, All-Southland first team
Third Base Heather Bunn LSU-Alexandria Sr. Hugo, Okla. .457, 7 HR, 59 RBI, All-Red River first team
Third Base Kara Gremillion Louisiana-Lafayette Fr. Gonzales, La. .304, 1 HR, 18 RBI
Shortstop DJ Sanders Louisiana-Lafayette So. Columbus, Miss. .314, 17 HR, 54 RBI, All-Sun Belt first team
Outfield Katie Lacour Southeastern Louisiana Sr. Port St. Joe, Fla. .423, 13 RBI, 58-of-66 stolen bases, led NCAA DI in steals per game
Outfield Bailey Landry LSU Jr. Prairieville, La. .318, 3 HR, 22 RBI, All-South Region second team
Outfield Morgan Turkoly Louisiana Tech Fr. Sanger, Texas .333, 10 HR, 43 RBI, All-Conference USA second team
Designated Player Sara Corbello Louisiana-Lafayette Sr. Lake Charles, La. .322, 11 HR, 28 RBI, All-Sun Belt first team
Utility Allie Walljasper LSU So. Manteca, Calif. .225, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9-5 as pitcher with 1 save, 1.98 ERA
Pitcher: Bailey Allen, Louisiana Tech; Sydney Smith, LSU.
Catcher: Kellsi Kloss, LSU.
First Base: Amye Barre, Louisiana-Monroe; Mattie Stine, Louisiana College.
Shortstop: Julinn Torres, LSU-Alexandria.
Outfield: Kellye Kincannon, Northwestern State; Danielle Phillips, Nicholls State; Marisa Taunton, McNeese State.
Designated Player: Morgan Catron, McNeese State.
Utility: Anna Cross, Louisiana Tech; Veronica Villafranco, Nicholls State.
Vote Breakdown of Major Awards
Hitter of the Year: Lexie Elkins, Louisiana-Lafayette, 12; Erika Piancastelli, McNeese State, 3; Bianka Bell, LSU, 2.
Pitcher of the Year: Carley Hoover, LSU, 7; Alex Stewart, Louisiana-Lafayette, 7; Hannah Haydel, Nicholls State, 3.
Freshman of the Year: Amanda Gianelloni, Nicholls State, 9; Sydney Smith, LSU, 5; Morgan Turkoly, Louisiana Tech, 3.
Coach of the Year: Angel Santiago, Nicholls State, 6; Joanna Hardin, McNeese State, 4; Beth Torina, LSU, 4; Michael Lotief, Louisiana-Lafayette, 2; Mark Suire, Centenary, 1.