Walljasper Pitcher of Year on All-Louisiana Softball

Walljasper Pitcher of Year on All-Louisiana Softball

(Written for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association)

LSU’s Allie Walljasper and UL-Lafayette’s DJ Sanders took the torch for their programs by virtue of their major awards on the 2017 All-Louisiana collegiate softball team announced Saturday by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Walljasper, a junior right-hander from Manteca, Calif., extends the Tigers’ streak of Pitcher of the Year honors to three. Sanders, a junior shortstop from Columbus, Miss., gives the Ragin’ Cajuns six Hitter of the Year awards in the last seven seasons and 10 in the last 15.

The Freshman of the Year is UL Lafayette’s Alyssa Denham, a right-handed pitcher from Alvin, Texas. Designated player Danelle Billings is the first LSU-Alexandria athlete to win a major award — the junior from Nixa, Mo., is Newcomer of the Year. And Mark Montgomery is a drought-breaker, giving Louisiana Tech its first Coach of the Year since 1988.

A LSWA panel of media and sports publicists selected the All-Louisiana team, based on statistics and performances through the teams’ conference tournaments. Those statistics were used in this story.

Walljasper was 16-4 with a 1.21 ERA, 11 shutouts and 138 strikeouts in 135 1/3 innings. She pitched a one-hitter to beat Tennessee 1-0 and snap the Vols’ 20-game winning streak. She helped LSU reach the Women’s College World Series for the third consecutive year.

Walljasper collected nine votes for Pitcher of the Year, Runner-up was UL Lafayette’s Alex Stewart, who shared the 2016 pitching award with LSU’s Carley Hoover. Stewart repeated as first-team All-Louisiana, but Hoover made the second team after first-team berths the past two seasons.

Also on the first team from LSU with Walljasper is catcher Sahvanna Jaquish. Like her four-time All-America citations, Jaquish is first-team All-Louisiana for the fourth time. Jaquish, of Highland, California, hit .343 with 53 RBI in the regular season.

Joining that pair on the first team outfield from LSU is senior Bailey Landry. The Prairieville native hit .431 with 32 RBI in earning first team All-SEC and NFCA A-A honors. Landry is All-Louisiana for the third time.

Hoover in making the second team was 11-6 in the regular season, earning All-Region second-team honors. Tiger outfielders Aliyah Andrews and Emily Griggs earned honorable mention honors.

Montgomery received six votes for Coach of the Year, two more than LSU’s Beth Torina, a runner-up for the third time. (Torina was 2015 Coach of the Year.)

Same as last year, UL Lafayette and LSU combined for nine of the 12 All-Louisiana first-team selections. This is the 32nd year of All-Louisiana softball selections.

(season statistics do not include NCAA or NAIA tournament games)

P/Alex Stewart/Louisiana-Lafayette/Sr./Zionsville, Ind./25-3, 1.66 ERA, All-America second team
P/Allie Walljasper/LSU/Jr./Manteca, Calif./16-4, 1.21 ERA, NFCA All-America third team
C/Sahvanna Jaquish/LSU/Sr./Highland, Calif./.343, 8 HR, 53 RBI, NFCA All-America first team
1B/Mattie Stine/Louisiana College/Jr./Hackberry, La./.441, 3 HR, 40 RBI, NFCA D III All-Region
2B/ Kassidy Zeringue/UL-Lafayette/Sr./Lutcher, La./.395, 11 RBI, twice CoSIDA Academic A-A 2nd team
3B/Kara Gremillion/Louisiana-Lafayette/So./Gonzales, La./.318, 4 HR, 31 RBI, reached base in final 43 games
SS/DJ Sanders Louisiana-Lafayette/Jr./Columbus, Miss./ .397, 28 HR, 78 RBI, NFCA All-America first team
OF/Aleah Craighton/Louisiana-Lafayette/Jr./Prairieville, La./.356, 18 HR, 53 RBI, NFCA A-A 1st team
OF/Haley Hayden Louisiana-Lafayette/Sr./West Monroe, La./.382, 12 HR, 56 RBI, school record for career runs
OF/Bailey Landry/LSU/Sr./Prairieville, La./.431, 2 HR, 32 RBI, NFCA All-America first team
DP/Danelle Billings/LSU-Alexandria/Jr./Nixa, Mo./.480, 18 HR, 76 RBI, NAIA All-America first team
Util/Erika Piancastelli/McNeese/Jr./Carlsbad, Calif./.375, 12 HR, 48 RBI, twice SLC POY

Hitter of the Year: DJ Sanders, Louisiana-Lafayette
Pitcher of the Year: Allie Walljasper, LSU
Newcomer of the Year: Danelle Billings, LSU-Alexandria
Freshman of the Year: Alyssa Denham, Louisiana-Lafayette
Coach of the Year: Mark Montgomery, Louisiana Tech

Second Team
P/Krystal De La Cruz/Louisiana Tech/So./Eagle Pass, Texas/13-3, 1.76 ERA, 2 saves, C-USA Newcomer
P/Carley Hoover/LSU/Jr./Clemson, S.C./11.6, 1.08 ERA, All-South Region second team
P/Rachel Smith McNeese State/Sr./Baytown, Texas/17-7, 2.35 ERA, SLC Pitcher of the Year
C/Lexie Comeaux/Louisiana-Lafayette/So./Tomball, Texas/.351, 10 HR, 47 RBI, All-SBC 2nd team
1B/Mahalia Gibson/Southeastern/Jr./Hattiesburg, Miss./.317, 3 HR, 36 RBI, SLC Newcomer of Year
2B/Carleigh Chaumont/McNeese State/Jr./Moss Bluff, La./.324, 4 HR, 29 RBI, two grand slams
3B/Jordan Rains/Northwestern State/Sr./Houston, Texas/.279, 13 RBI, All-Southland third team
SS/Julinn Torres/LSU-Alexandria/Sr./El Paso, Texas/.453, 14 HR, 63 RBI, NAIA A-A first team
OF/Justyce McClain/McNeese State/So./Phoenix, Ariz./.447, 22 RBI, 27-31 SB, All-SLC first team
OF/Samantha Mracich/Nicholls/Fr./Metairie, La./.393, 1 HR, 22 RBI, All-Southland second team
OF/Morgan Turkoly/Louisiana Tech/So./Sanger, Texas/.367, 2 HR, 36 RBI, All-C-USA first team
DP/Alexandria Saldivar/McNeese/Fr./Princeton, Texas .345, 3 HR, 26 RBI, All-SLC first team
Util/Jazlyn Crowder/Louisiana Tech/So./Kennedale, Texas .284, 6 HR, 27 RBI, All-CUSA 2nd team

Honorable Mention
Pitcher: Alyssa Denham, Louisiana-Lafayette; Marci West, LSU-Alexandria.
First Base: Kasey Frederick, Nicholls State; Pauline Tufi, Louisiana Tech.
Second Base: Brooke Morris, Nicholls State.
Shortstop: Tia Coleman, Grambling; Amanda Gianelloni, Nicholls State.
Outfield: Aliyah Andrews, LSU; Ali Galaz, Louisiana Tech; Emily Griggs, LSU; Kellye Kincannon, Northwestern State; Kinsey Nichols, Southeastern Louisiana; Jacy Ummel, LSU-Alexandria.
Designated Player: Taria Page, Louisiana Tech.
Utility: Sydney Bourg, Nicholls State.

Vote Breakdown of Major Awards
Hitter of the Year: DJ Sanders, UL-Lafayette, 12; Danelle Billings, LSU-A, 2; Bailey Landry, LSU, 2.
Pitcher of the Year: Allie Walljasper, LSU, 9; Alex Stewart, UL-Lafayette, 6; Rachel Smith, McNeese State, 1.
Freshman of the Year: Alyssa Denham, UL-Lafayette, 10; Samantha Mracich, Nicholls State, 4; Alexandria Saldivar, McNeese State, 1; Jacy Ummel, LSU-Alexandria, 1.
Coach of the Year: Mark Montgomery, Louisiana Tech, 6; Beth Torina, LSU, 4; James Landreneaux, McNeese State, 3; Michael Lotief, UL-Lafayette, 2; Jerry Breaux, LSU-A, 1.