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Softball: Cajuns Capture LSWA Top Honors

Holly Tankersley headlined the Ragin' Cajuns All-Louisiana selections.
View larger Courtesy: RaginCajuns.com
Holly Tankersley headlined the Ragin’ Cajuns All-Louisiana selections.

LAFAYETTE-Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns softball team, an opening-game winner
Thursday in the Women’s College World Series, also flexed its muscles on the
2008 All-Louisiana team.

The Ragin’ Cajuns have a state-leading five first-team selections and earned
four of the five special honors. Outfielder Holly Tankersley (Kirbyville,
Texas) was named the Hitter of the Year, while Ashley Brignac (River Ridge,
La.) was dubbed the Pitcher of the Year and another Cajuns pitcher, Donna
Bourgeois (Lafayette, La.), took home Freshman of the Year honors.

The Cajuns’ co-head coach Stefni Lotief was chosen Coach of the Year for the
first time since 2005 but the fourth time in six seasons.

The other special honor, Newcomer of the Year, went to Nicholls State
sophomore pitcher Lacey Gros.

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.

Tankersley, named this week to the NFCA All-America first team, hit .461 with
18 home runs and 66 RBIs. A three-time All-Louisiana first-team selection,
Tankersley ranked among the top 10 in NCAA Division I in batting, homers and
RBIs. Her bases-empty homer in the top of the eighth inning Thursday lifted
the Cajuns to a 3-2 victory over top-seeded Florida.

Brignac, the lone freshman on the All-Louisiana first team, was 24-6 with two
saves, a 1.34 ERA, three no-hitters and 261 strikeouts in 172.2 innings. The
freshman struck out a career-high 15 in a complete game against Florida.

Bourgeois was 13-4 with two saves and a 0.96 ERA which led the Sun Belt
Conference and ranked 15th in Division I. She struck out 157 in 124 innings.

Lotief coached the Cajuns to a 42-12 regular-season record, their seventh Sun
Belt regular-season championship; eighth Sun Belt Tournament title; and a
10th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. The Cajuns reached the WCWS for
the first time since 2003 by going a combined 4-1 against a pair of top-15
teams, LSU and Houston.

Nicholls State’s Gros, who edged Southern pitcher Lanaya Jenkins by one vote
for Newcomer of the Year, was 9-3 with one save, a 2.43 ERA and 99 strikeouts
in 92 innings. Opponents batted a Southland Conference-low .183 against her,
and she helped the Lady Colonels finished second in the SLC Tournament
despite a No. 6 seeding.

UL was one of three schools with multiple players on the first team.
Louisiana Tech — which won the Western Athletic Conference Tournament and,
for the first time since 1995, qualified for the NCAA tourney — had three
players, and LSU had two.

Joining Tankersley and Brignac on the first team were teammates Vanessa Soto
(San Diego, Calif.) at second base, outfielder Karli Hubbard (Lafayette, La.)
and designated player Vallie Gaspard (Maurice, La.).

Soto, who hit .320 with five homers, 52 RBIs and a Division I-leading seven
sacrifice flies, is All-Louisiana for the third time. While at LSU she made
the second team in 2005 and the first team in 2006. Hubbard, who was second-
team All-Louisiana in 2007, hit .400 with nine RBIs and made a pair of
memorable catches, robbing South Alabama of a grand slam and a bases-loaded
inning-ending diving grab against Troy. Gaspard hit .477 with 11 RBIs.

Tech’s first-team selections are Kylie Bassett (.329, three homers, 25 RBIs)
at first base, Amberly Waits (.392, seven homers, 41 RBIs) at shortstop and
Krissi Oliver (18-13 pitching, .268 batting, WAC Tournament MVP) at utility.

Waits, a sophomore, denied Nicholls senior Kat Harrell a third consecutive
berth on the first team, and she did it with some impressive statistics.
Waits set Tech season records for hits (73), triples (10), total bases (124)
and batting average.

On the first team from LSU are pitcher Dani Hofer and outfielder Rachel
Mitchell. Hofer, the 2007 Louisiana Pitcher of the Year and 2006 Freshman of
the Year, was 18-7 with one save, a 1.90 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 144
innings. Mitchell hit .379 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs and ranked among the
top 10 in the Southeastern Conference in 10 offensive categories.

Completing the first team are McNeese State catcher Jenny Clay and
Southeastern Louisiana third baseman Heather Sherrill. Clay, second-team All-
Louisiana in 2007, hit .386 with six homers, 28 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in
23 attempts. In March she became McNeese’s first Louisville Slugger/NFCA
Division I National Player of the Week. Sherrill hit .364 with nine homers,
led the Southland Conference with 41 RBIs and set an SLU record with 39
career doubles.

There were no unanimous first-team selections. Tankersley, despite her first
team All-American status, was left off one of the 15 first-team votes. Oliver
received 13, and Brignac and Gaspard each had 12.

The second team includes three players each from LSU and Nicholls and two
apiece from Louisiana College, UL and Southern. Representing Louisiana
College, which finished third in the NCAA Division III College World Series,
were pitcher McCaslin Carson and catcher Erica Harwell. Carson was a repeat
second-team selection.

The rest of the second team consists of second baseman Shannon Stein,
outfielder Quinlan Duhon and designated player Dee Dee Henderson of LSU;
Harrell, first baseman Amy Thibodeaux and utility Audrey Wood of Nicholls;
Bourgeois and outfielder Katie Smith (Ruston, La.) of  UL; first baseman
Jasmone Williams and outfielder Victoria Stewart of Southern; and third
baseman Allison Shepperd of Centenary.

It was the second consecutive year that Thibodeaux tied for the second-team
honor at first base.

Also receiving votes for Coach of the Year were Louisiana College’s Tim
Whitman and Louisiana Tech’s Sarah Dawson.
2008 All-Louisiana Collegiate Softball Team
First Team
Position – Name (School, Yr., Hometown)
Pitcher – Ashley Brignac (Louisiana, Fr., River Ridge, La.)
Pitcher – Dani Hofer (LSU, Jr., Safety Harbor, Fla.)
Catcher – Jenny Clay (McNeese State, Sr., Arnaudville, La.)
First Base – Kylie Bassett (Louisiana Tech, So., Vista, Calif.)
Second Base – Vanessa Soto (Louisiana, Sr., San Diego, Calif.)
Third Base – Heather Sherrill (Southeastern Louisiana, Jr., Alexandria, La.)
Shortstop – Amberly Waits (Louisiana Tech, So., Cleburne, Texas)
Outfield – Karli Hubbard (Louisiana, Jr., Lafayette, La.)
Outfield – Rachel Mitchell (LSU, So., LaPorte, Texas)
Outfield – Holly Tankersley (Louisiana, Sr., Kirbyville, Texas)
Designated Player – Vallie Gaspard (Louisiana, So., Maurice, La.)
Utility – Krissi Oliver (Louisiana Tech, Jr., Glendale, Ariz.)
Hitter of the Year: Holly Tankersley, Louisiana
Pitcher of the Year: Ashley Brignac, Louisiana
Newcomer of the Year: Lacey Gros, Pitcher, Nicholls State
Freshman of the Year: Donna Bourgeois, Louisiana
Coach of the Year: Stefni Lotief, Louisiana
Second Team
Position – Name (School, Yr., Hometown)
Pitcher – Donna Bourgeois (Louisiana, Fr., Lafayette, La.)
Pitcher – McCaslin Carson (Louisiana College, Jr., Monroe, La.)
Catcher – Erica Harwell (Louisiana College, Sr., Houma, La.)
First Base (tie) – Amy Thibodeaux (Nicholls State, Sr.  Prairieville, La.)
First Base (tie) – Jasmone Williams (Southern, So., Carthage, Texas)
Second Base –  Shannon Stein (LSU, Sr., Upland, Calif.)
Third Base –  Allison Shepperd (Centenary, So., Marshall, Texas)
Shortstop –  Kat Harrell (Nicholls State, Sr., League City, Texas)
Outfield –  Quinlan Duhon (LSU, Sr., Youngsville, La.)
Outfield –  Katie Smith (Louisiana, Fr., Ruston, La.)
Outfield –  Victoria Stewart (Southern, Fr., Texarkana, Texas)
Designated Player –  Dee Dee Henderson (LSU, Sr., Atlanta, Texas)
Utility –  Audrey Wood (Nicholls State, So., Lawton, Okla.)
Honorable Mention
Pitcher: Meghan Krieg (Louisiana Tech); René Schwartzenburg (Louisiana
College); Cody Trahan (LSU); Catcher: Lana Bowers (Louisiana); Killian
Roessner (LSU); Third Base: Melissa Verde (Louisiana); Shortstop: Katie Duhe
(Southeastern Louisiana); Utility: Holly McNeill (ULM); Designated Player:
Rachel King (McNeese State); Outfield: Emma Barnes (Louisiana Tech); Cary
Bruno (Northwestern State); Jazz Jackson (LSU); Brooke Lockhart (Southeastern
Louisiana); Brianna Love (ULM); Jessica Thompson (Louisiana College).


Chris Whitehead
UL-Lafayette Sports Information
201 Reinhardt Drive
Lafayette, LA 70506
(337) 851-2255