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Ms. Danyele Krystyne Gomez
Metairie, Louisiana 70005
|Spotlight on Former Athlete: Danyele Gomez - Softball 2003-06
Gomez gave hitting a deeper meaning
By Bruce Brown
This just in – the home run Danyele Gomez hit in the 2003 Women's College World Series has finally stopped rolling.
Investigators located the ball about a mile outside of Oklahoma City and have identified it as the one Gomez ripped against Texas ace Cat Osterman for a 2-1 Ragin' Cajun lead in that WCWS battle.
Truth be told, the screaming line drive shot over the left field fence was actually found that day. But the hit was the kind that spawns legends.
Gomez was wrapping up an All-American freshman campaign, barely a year removed from Cabrini High School in New Orleans, and had helped to spark UL's return to the World Series stage after a 7-year absence.
“That home run stands out for me,” said Gomez, who eventually had 83 collegiate shots from which to choose. “My family members were there. My parents, and all four of my grandparents. It was hard for them to make the trip to Oklahoma City, so it was a big deal.
“All four of them have passed away now, but they used to talk about that home run I hit in the World Series.”
The only child of Jimmy and Analyn Gomez gave the family plenty to talk about in her Cajun career.
“One time, we were playing at home and it was cold, with the wind in your face,” Gomez said. “We were down by a run and I was the go-ahead run at the plate. I hit a line drive off the board behind the outfield that had all our NCAA years on it.
“My grandfather talked about it for years. I'm glad they got to have those little moments.”
Despite those highlight memories, Gomez wasn't a Dave Kingman – feast or famine, homer or nothing – kind of hitter.
“I don't think I thought of hitting home runs,” she said. “That's not how it works. My job was to move the runner along, to get on base. I didn't think about statistics. I couldn't tell you what my numbers were, then or now.”
For the record, Gomez had 83 home runs and 588 total bases (both school records), with 283 hits, 209 runs, 246 runs batted in and a .745 slugging percentage.
As a senior in 2006, she had 30 home runs, 92 hits, 77 runs, 199 total bases, a .442 batting average and a .957 slugging percentage to secure a third All-American season at UL. She got a hit in 50 of 62 games and scored in 47 of those contests.
She was the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year in 2003, and its Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006 when she was also All-Tournament
The Cajuns finished 47-11, 60-8, 51-10 and 50-12 (208-41) with four straight NCAA Tournament berths.
Not an easy road
It wasn't all easy, though, no matter how it looked.
“I had a rough summer before my first fall at UL,” Gomez said. “I had good experience, but I couldn't get it together. Going into the fall, I put a lot of work in.
“Coach Mike (Lotief) taught the swing differently from what I had been taught my whole life. There was no intermediate. I had to figure it out. He focuses more on the hips than the arms. As women, we're not that strong in the arms. We're stronger in the lower half, and need to use that to our advantage.
“We worked on it, studied film, compared ourselves. The transition was hard, of course. It gets worse before it gets better.”
Apparently, though, she was a quick study.
“I started to get comfortable at the end of the fall, early that first spring,” Gomez said. “I don't remember it becoming second nature. I was always working on it.”
The 2003 Cajuns learned quickly enough to survive a rugged NCAA Regional (6-0 over San Diego State, 1-0 over Fullerton, 1-0 over Oklahoma State, then 2-9 and 6-4 against Oregon) and reach the World Series.
They lost to Texas 5-2 and UCLA 5-1, finishing 8th in the country, and never got back to the WCWS despite knocking on the door with Gomez as the low-key leader.
“I was always going to put in the work for each team, each season,” she said. “If something was broke, I'd work on fixing it. Everybody has slumps. Everybody has the monkey on their back at some point.
“I'm a quiet person, so I guess I led more by example. We'd figure the hitting out, try to work with each other. Each of us had a little part of hitting, but how you understand something might not be the way some others see it.
“i tried not to let it (get) in my mind. I put it on the back burner and take things game-by-game, week-to-week. I was always the first at practice and the last to leave, figuring out how to fix it.”
Gomez excelled in softball, volleyball and basketball in her youth, making travel teams in both softball and volleyball and focusing on those two sports at Cabrini.
She thought about playing her two favorite sports in college, too, but her academic load as a pre-med major made that too ambitious.
“The academic side of it was hard,” she said. “Sometimes we'd miss class for a week and a half. I remember coming back to organic chemistry, and I was lost. It was really tough. Everybody would study on the bus. The teachers did a good job helping us to catch up.”
Gomez grew up with athletics, as both parents were active.
“Mom played volleyball on weekends,” she said, “and Dad played softball. Sports was always there around. In fact, I got into softball after my volleyball team lost and I didn't know what to do with myself.”
And it went beyond parental influence.
“When I was little, my grandpa would wad up newspaper into a ball, get a broomstick handle, and we'd go out in the backyard to play,” she said. “That's a special memory for me.”
Gomez headed for medical school, then switched to nursing school. She spent four years in neo-natal care, then went back to school to become a nurse anesthetist.
“I'm where I need to be,” said Gomez. “Surgery can be scary. I help them through it, help them feel comfortable with it.”
Married last September, Gomez and her husband Christopher McDuff live in New Orleans, close to her parents.
Jimmy and Analyn were there every step of the way – and nearly every game – growing up, so there's no reason to change a winning formula. That includes future McDuffs.
“I would hope so,” Gomez said. “Athletics teaches you a lot along the way, things like work ethic and teamwork, that I've brought into my career.”
Gomez doesn't hit tape measure home runs any more, but she's still hitting life's challenges out of the park.
“It seems like yesterday, but it's been a while,” she said.
Games – 249. At Bats – 789. Hits – 283. Runs – 209. Home Runs – 83. RBI – 246. Total Bases – 588. Slugging % - .745.
Games – 68, 206. Batting Avg. - .442, 2006. At Bats – 212, 2004. Hits – 92, 2006; Runs – 77, 2006. Home Runs – 30, 2006. Total Bases – 199, 2006. Slugging % - .957, 2006.
Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, 2003
Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, 2005, 2006
Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament, 2005, 2006
All-American, 2003, 2005, 2006
Updated March 4, 2017
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Softball: Gomez still at home on the diamond
After University Games trials, outfielder heads to fastpitch league.
There are now more worlds to conquer - two of them, in fact - for University of Louisiana softball standout Danyele Gomez.
The senior outfielder, who wrapped up her career as the most prolific power hitter in Ragin' Cajun history, opens her participation Friday in the U.S. team trials for the World University Games in Chula Vista, Calif.
From there, she heads to Houston, where she has signed to play with the Texas Thunder of the National Pro Fastpitch league.
"It never stops for her," said Cajun coach Stefni Lotief. "It's great that she's getting these opportunities to take it to the next level and go and test her skills a little more."
The first of those tests comes Friday-Sunday when she competes with 40 invited players from across the country for 18 spots on the team that will represent the U.S. at the World University Games July 15-23 in Taiwan.
If she makes that squad, she'll have to take time off from the Thunder, which has already opened its season in the eight-team NPF league, formerly known as the Women's Pro Softball League.
Gomez, one of the top season and career home run producers in NCAA history, joins fellow Cajun product Krystal Lewallen on the Thunder. Lewallen signed with the team last week saw action in one game over the weekend in the team's opening series at the Arizona Heat, picking up a save in 1 2/3 innings as the Thunder won three of four games.
Gomez and Lewallen are two of five rookies on the Thunder roster, with the remainder of the team holdovers from last season.
"Krystal was drafted by them (the Thunder) early in our season," Lotief said. "Several teams had contacted us about Danyele, but she wasn't sure at the time if she wanted to go that route. She's a pre-med major and has some classes left to finish, and she's trying to get into medical school.
"But she decided this was an opportunity, and it worked out well coming right after the World team trials."
The Thunder plays its games in League City, a suburb of Houston, and opens its home season tonight against the Michigan Ice. The Thunder plays a 48-game season that wraps up Aug. 19 and includes four-game series against both Team USA and Team Canada.
Other league teams include the Chicago Bandits, the Akron Racers, the New England Riptide, the Connecticut Brakettes and the Philadelphia Force.
"We are thrilled to have a player like Danyele join us in Texas," said Thunder owner Rabitt Blake. "She adds so much to our lineup because of her power, and we're looking forward to seeing what she can do here."
Gomez, a first-team All-America selection this season and a three-time All-America pick, was twice the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Year. She won the league's "triple crown" this season with a league-leading 30 homers, 68 RBI and a .442 batting average, and set school records for homers, runs (77) and slugging percentage (.957) this season.
Her 30 homers made her the third player in NCAA Division I history to reach that mark in a season, and she also ranks fourth in NCAA history with 83 career home runs.a
Originally published June 7, 2006
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Softball: Gomez Signs With Texas Thunder
Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
June 5, 2006 - HOUSTON � Former Louisiana-Lafayette slugger Danyele Gomez has signed a contract to play with the Texas Thunder this season, as announced today by team owner Rabitt Blake.
During her four years at Louisiana-Lafayette, Gomez was a .359 hitter, while playing primarily left field for the Ragin' Cajuns. She became only the fifth student-athlete in UL softball history to be named a three-time Division I All-American (2003, 2005, 2006).
�We are thrilled to have a player like Danyele join us in Texas," said Blake. �Gomez adds so much to our lineup because of her power and we look forward to seeing what she can do here."
The Metairie, La. native set the Louisiana-Lafayette single season record for home runs (30), runs scored (77), total bases (199) and slugging percentage (.957). Gomez was named the Sun Belt's Triple Crown winner, had 32 multi-hit games, 17 multi-RBI games and is only the fourth player in NCAA history to reach 80 career home runs, hitting 83 total.
Gomez joins former college teammate Krystal Lewallen in Texas. Lewallen signed last week to play with the Thunder. Gomez and Lewallen are just two of five rookies to be on the Thunder roster for the 2006 season.
For more information on the Texas Thunder, please contact Aaron M. Moore, general manager, at (281) 403-2475 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The team's home opener is scheduled for Wednesday, June 7 at 7:05 p.m. with the Michigan Ice at the Big League Dreams facility in League City.
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Softball: Gomez Featured in Sports Illustrated
Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
LAFAYETTE � The storied career of Danyele Gomez was given national notoriety this week when the senior outfielder was featured in Sports Illustrated's �Faces in the Crowd," that is available on newsstands now.
Gomez, who won the Sun Belt's Triple Crown in leading Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball team to the 2006 Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles, was a part of the �Faces in the Crowd" section of the May 29 Sports Illustrated issue.
Gomez was recognized for leading all Division I of the NCAA in home runs during the 2006 season. The Metairie native ended the season with 30 home runs � only the third player in NCAA history to reach 30 home runs in a single season.
She ended her career with 83 career home runs which ranks as the third-highest total in NCAA history. Reaching the 80 home run plateau � which made her only the fourth to do so in a career � was the basis of her nomination.
Originally published June 6, 2006
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Softball: DANYELE GOMEZ NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICA
Senior outfielder earns the third All-America honor of her career
Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
LAFAYETTE � In college softball one has reached elite status with the prestigious honor of being named a first team All-American.
It's often considered the crowning jewel of one's career.
That moment arrived for Danyele Gomez on Wednesday when the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) in partnership with Louisville Slugger unveiled its 2006 Division I All-America teams.
Gomez, the nation's home run champion, was selected as one of three outfielders in the nation directly selected to the first team. It's the third time in her career that she's been named an All-American (also selected in 2003 and 2005).
Gomez' selection marks the eighth straight season that at least one player from Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball team was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Team.
The senior from Metairie becomes the program's 12th first-team selection and joins former teammate Brooke Mitchell (2004) as first team selections under co-head coaches Stefni and Michael Lotief.
Gomez is the first Cajuns' position player to be awarded first team status since Tiffany Clark (outfielder) in 2000.
The selection was the 35th in Louisiana-Lafayette softball history and since 1989. Louisiana-Lafayette has now had at least one All-American softball student-athlete in 17 of the last 18 seasons.
Gomez is only the fifth student-athlete in UL softball history to earn All-American status three times in a career. She joins Lynn Britton (four-time selection), Kyla Hall, Stephanie DeFeo and Tiffany Clark on the short list.
A Top 10 Finalist for the USA Softball Player of the Year award and the 2006 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year this season, Gomez had plenty of accolades that warranted her selection to the first team.
Gomez led all hitters in Division I of the NCAA with 30 home runs � making her only the third player (Stacey Nuveman and Laura Espinoza) in NCAA history to accomplish the feat in a single season. It was fitting that the landmark achievement was the Ragin' Cajuns final home run of the 2006 season.
The journey to first team status started at the beginning of the season when she ended the first weekend of the campaign with a .529 average and maintained a .400 average or better to her final at bat. She ended the season with a .442 batting average over 208 at bats � a new school record for season batting average.
Along the way she set the school's single season record for home runs (30), runs scored (77), total bases (199) and slugging percentage (.957). She also claimed the career records for home runs, RBI and total bases.
As of May 28, she remained the NCAA statistical averages leader in home runs per game (0.48), runs scored per game (1.24) and slugging percentage. The odds are that when the final stats are compiled following the Women's College World Series she will be the NCAA champion in each category.
The Sun Belt's Triple Crown winner had 32 multi-hit games and 17 multi-RBI games.
Gomez scored in 47 of 62 games and hit safely in 50 of 62 games. She posted seven hits in the Baton Rouge Regional which was the tournament-high.
She secured her third season with at least 20 home runs on Saturday, April 8 at Troy and broke the school's single-season home run record when she belted her 22nd of the season April 19 at McNeese State.
On Saturday, May 6 at Middle Tennessee she further solidified her place in NCAA history when she connected on her 80th career home run. That shot allowed her to become only the fourth player in NCAA history to reach 80 career home runs. She wrapped up her career with 83 home runs � 26 more than second place on the UL career list.
A total of 54 players amongst all Division I schools were named to the 2006 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-America first, second and third teams. Coaching representatives for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association select 18 players for each of three teams.
Each team (first, second and third) features 13 position players and five �at-large" selections. Making her honor more significant is that Gomez was one of the three outfielders on the first team joining Tennessee's Sarah Fekete and Arizona State's Katie Cochran.
Since the Lotiefs took over the program in 2001, the Cajuns have received seven All-America honors. This season marked the second time under the Lotiefs that the Cajuns received a first team selection.
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICANS (since 1990)
2006 � Danyele Gomez
2004 � Brooke Mitchell
2000 � Tiffany Clark
1996 � Cheryl Longeway
1995 � Cheryl Longeway
1994 � Stephanie DeFeo
1993 � Kyla Hall
1992 � Dorsey Steamer
1990 � Stefni Whitton
Originally published May 31, 2006
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Softball: DANYELE GOMEZ INVITED TO WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES SELECTION CAMP
Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
LAFAYETTE � Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball left fielder Danyele Gomez will get the chance to showcase her skills on the national level.
The nation's leader in home runs and 2006 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Gomez has been selected to participate in the 2006 World University Games Team Selection Camp from June 9-11 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
The senior was one of approximately 40 student-athletes from different universities selected to participate in the three-day camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The 2006 World University Games Team will be selected from the participants in the camp and those athletes participating in the National team Camp.
Eighteen (18) players will be selected to represent USA Softball at the World University Games in Taiwan, July 15-23. In addition, the team will compete in exhibition games against the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League in Chicago between July 25 and July 30.
Gomez tops all Division I with 29 home runs this season � a school record. She also leads the nation in runs scored per game and slugging percentage. She has hit safely in 46 of UL's 58 games played this season.
Her 82 career home runs rank fourth all-time in the NCAA record books.
Originally published May 17, 2006
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Softball: Gomez named finalist for top Player of the Year
On The Fly, Published May 11, 2006 -
MIAMI - Receiving the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Award wasn't the only good news for Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun senior left fielder Danyele Gomez on Wednesday.
Gomez, the Sun Belt's Triple Crown winner from Metairie, was named one of the 10 finalists for the 2006 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, announced by the Amateur Softball Association and USA Softball.
The award, the only national player of the year honor for the sport, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
On May 28 the list will be cut to three, with that trio traveling to Oklahoma City for the announcement of the winner during opening ceremonies of the 2006 NCAA Women's College World Series on May 31.
Softball: Cajun seniors special
2006 senior class leaves legacy of broken records.
The six seniors on this year's University of Louisiana softball team make up what coach Stefni Lotief calls a very special class.
It has also been a very productive one.
The Class of '06 includes the program's all-time home-run and RBI producer, a three-year starter who ranks among the top five homer hitters, a four-year infield starter who has reached base more than any Cajun in recent memory, and both halves of this year's pitching tandem that has combined for 40 wins and a 1.70 ERA.
The class has also been responsible for an overall record of 199-38 over the past four years.
But Lotief looks less at the numbers and more at the individuals.
"The biggest thing to me is how much they've matured as people," Lotief said. "I still remember when most of them came here as freshmen, and now they're all on track to graduate.
"The process they've gone through has been one of going out there day in and day out, trying to get better and continuing to learn, and trusting us as coaches to help them chase their dreams."
Those dreams have included Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament titles every season and trips to the NCAA Tournament each year, including a Women's College World Series journey in 2003 for the foursome that came as freshmen - Danyele Gomez, Ashley Evans, Brittany Bryant and Leslie Pierce.
They'll be trying to add to those dreams in the final home games of the 2006 season today, a Sun Belt Conference doubleheader against Western Kentucky beginning at noon at Lamson Park. "Senior Day" festivities begin at approximately 11:50 a.m. with Gomez, Evans, Bryant, Pierce and pitchers Ashley Kirchberg and Krystal Lewallen honored.
"They know that today's not their last games," Lotief said. "We've got another series, the conference tournament and hopefully a regional. But it may be the last chance they get to enjoy the atmosphere here and be a part of how much people here care about the softball program."
Evans, a product of West Monroe, was the first to arrive in the 2002 season. She had an injury redshirt season in 2003 when she broke her hand early in the season, but has started for three years since returning for 2004.
"She was in our first real class since we started so late," said Lotief, who took over the program in time for the 2001 season. "We've sort of held her to a higher standard because of that."
Gomez, Bryant and Pierce came one year later out of high school, with Gomez and Bryant playing virtually every game since their freshman seasons and Pierce seeing extensive action as a backup catcher and pinch hitter.
Kirchberg came through the junior college route, arriving for the 2005 season after two years at Galveston College. Lewallen joined the UL program for her senior season after three years at Division II Northern Kentucky, where she was the D-II national player of the year in 2005.
"For most of them, their college careers will be the biggest stage they'll play on," Lotief said. "Some may have a chance to play more, and the others will take a different path. But all of them are going to be special in whatever community they wind up in."
CAJUN SENIORS BY THE NUMBERS
0.37 - Ashley Kirchberg's career ERA at Lamson Park.
1 - The number of runs Danyele Gomez needs to score to break the school single season record (68 by Alana Addison in 2000)
1 - The number of home runs Gomez needs to reach 80 in her career which would make her the fourth player in NCAA Division I history to reach that mark.
3 - The number of hits Gomez needs to reach 80 this season which would make her only the fifth player in school history to reach that mark.
6 - The number of runs allowed by Kirchberg through 75 innings pitched at Lamson Park this season.
12 - The number of runs that UL needs to score today to tie the school record for runs in a season.
17-0 - Kirchberg's career record at Lamson Park.
20 - The number of career home runs that Brittany Bryant has hit at Lamson Park.
42 - The number of runs scored by Gomez at Lamson Park this season.
44 - The number of career home runs hit by Gomez at Lamson Park.
62 - The number of times Bryant has walked in 108 career games at Lamson Park.
213-21 - The margin in which UL has outscored opponents at Lamson Park this season.
Originally published April 30, 2006
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Softball: Gomez goes out on top
Cajun on pace to win Sun Belt 'triple crown.'
She just might be the nation's best collegiate hitter.
That's what the offensive numbers say about Danyele Gomez, who wraps up her home softball career this weekend when the University of Louisiana hosts Western Kentucky.
But that's even more reinforced when you watch the senior from Metairie in practice, and see line drive after line drive fly off the bat. Every swing is an attack, and that yellow ball usually loses.
"She's such a fierce competitor," said Ragin' Cajun coach Stefni Lotief. "She battles every day, and it doesn't matter if it's off the pitching machine, in an intrasquad game, whenever."
It's those battles that have enabled her to compile totals never reached by a UL player and matched by very few in the history of the college game.
Gomez enters Saturday's 1 p.m. twinbill with 78 career home runs, the fifth-highest total in NCAA Division I history, and she could easily move up to fourth on that list in the weekend's three-game series.
She leads the country in homers this season with 25, and she's three ahead of her nearest pursuer. She has scored more often than any Division I player this year and has hit for power more than any other, leading the nation in both runs and slugging percentage.
She's likely to win the Sun Belt Conference's "Triple Crown," leading the league in batting average (.466), homers and RBI (60). She's 120 average points ahead of everybody else in the league, and the nearest competitors in the home run chase are teammates Lacey Bertucci and Ashley Evans with 19 each.
The only way she won't sweep all three categories is if Bertucci catches her in the RBI chase, with Bertucci entering the weekend with 54. Only one person in Sun Belt history has ever won the triple crown - Alana Addison, who finished her stellar UL career the year Gomez signed with the Cajuns. It's Addison's career homer and RBI records that Gomez snapped earlier this season.
"She's just been locked in all year," said UL co-head coach Michael Lotief. "If you make a mistake upstairs to her, it's a home run."
It's not like she's aiming for the red-board fences at Lamson Park every trip to the plate, but the battle instincts still come out.
"I just think about fighting every pitch," Gomez said. "I'm trying to have good at-bats. That's what we're all trying to do every time."
She's just done it with more consistency than most. In UL's 49 games this year's she's had multiple hits 26 times. She takes a team-high 12-game hitting streak into the weekend.
Only nine times this year out of 49 games has Gomez gone without a hit.
"When she came here she had to play a lot of positions," Stefni Lotief said, "and she's done that very well. But she's also made herself into one of the premier hitters in the country. When you're ranked fifth all-time, that says a lot."
"A good percentage of hitting is mental," Gomez said, "but more than anything it's just a lot of hard work. You come early and stay late ... no one realizes the amount of work that goes into it."
DANYELE GOMEZ FILE
2006 NCAA Home Run Leaders
1. Danyele Gomez, Louisiana, 25
2. Melanie Denischuk, Maryland-Balt. County, 22
2. Whitney Haller, Ga. Tech, 22
4. Serena Settlemier, Kansas, 20
4. Ashley Adams, Western Carolina, 20
6. Lacey Bertucci, Louisiana, 19
6. Ashley Evans, Louisiana, 19
NCAA Career Home Run Leaders
1. Stacey Nuveman, UCLA, 90
2. Laura Espinoza, Arizona, 85
2. Leah Braatz, Arizona, 85
4. Kristen Rivera, Washington, 79
5. Danyele Gomez, UL, 78
Originally published April 28, 2006
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Softball: Danyele Gomez Sun Belt Player of the Week
Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
LAFAYETTE � Danyele Gomez picked up her fourth Sun Belt weekly honor of the season on Monday when the conference office named her this week's Sun Belt Softball Player of the Week. It marked the second straight week she won the award.
The leading slugger for the 13th-ranked Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball team ended the week with three home runs and six RBI over four games.
She hit her 20th home run of the season in Saturday's 2-1 win over Troy with her home run providing the two runs in the Cajuns' win. The home run at Troy gave her 20 for the season and marked her second straight season with 20 home runs.
Gomez's 20 home runs is tops in the nation. She needs two home runs to establish
a new school single-season record and three more to join the NCAA all-time Top 5.
Last Tuesday at Southern Mississippi she clubbed a home run in her first two at bats producing four runs for the Cajuns. In the USM game she set the school career records for RBI and total bases, increasing her career RBI total to 222 and career total bases total to 511.
Gomez scored six runs with at least one in the four games extending her string of consecutive games with at least one run scored to eight straight games.
The Metairie native is leading the race for the Sun Belt's �Triple Crown" as she boasts a league-best .444 batting average, 20 home runs and 46 RBI.
FIU's Sarah Belanger was named Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week setting up a matchup of the league's honorees this weekend when FIU travels to Lafayette for a three-game series.
Gomez collected her fourth Player of the Week honor of the season and the eighth of her career.
The Ragin' Cajuns have now won 53 Sun Belt weekly honors in five-plus seasons under former Ragin' Cajuns All-American and current head coach Stefni Lotief. This week's awards are fifth and sixth of the 2006 season.
No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette returns home this week for its first Sun Belt Conference action at Alfred and Helen Lamson Ragin' Cajuns Softball Park. The Ragin' Cajuns (32-7, 2-1 Sun Belt) will be hosting FIU (20-21, 3-0 Sun Belt) in a pivotal Sun Belt series Friday-Saturday, April 14-15. A 4 p.m., single game is set for Friday, April 14 and a 1 p.m., doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday, April 15.
2006 Louisiana-Lafayette Softball Weekly Honors
Sun Belt Player of the Week
Feb. 14 - Danyele Gomez
Feb. 21 - Danyele Gomez
Apr. 3 � Danyele Gomez
Apr. 10 � Danyele Gomez
Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week
Feb. 14 - Krystal Lewallen
Feb. 21 - Ashley Kirchberg
Apr. 3 � Ashley Kirchberg
Published April 10, 2006
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Softball: Gomez becomes Cajuns' all-time HR leader
It seems fitting that Danyele Gomez should be the one to break Alana Addison's career home run record.
The two Louisiana softball All-Americans already had so much in common In drive and competitiveness, it figures that Gomez would be in Addison's class in the UL record book.
The senior All-American clubbed a pair of circuit clouts in the first game and to pass Addison another in the nightcap as UL defeated Chattanooga 10-1 and Southern Mississippi 15-0 in Saturday action at the Ragin' Cajun Invitational.
Gomez entered the day with 56 homers, one behind the 57 slugged by Addison from 1999-2002.
"They're so alike, in the kind of people and the kind of player they are, and in the way they play the game," UL co-head coach Michael Lotief said. "Alana was very quiet, a quiet leader, the same as Dannie.
"They have the same build and the same pop in their bat. Alana's swing was more natural. Danyele's swing is more the product of a lot, a lot of work. They both generate so much power, so much pop."
"She's just flawless," said senior second baseman Brittany Bryant, whose grand slam home run in the seventh capped the Cajuns' bashing of USM. "It's funny, but you expect her to hit a home run every time up at bat.
"If she gets a double or a base hit, you ask 'what happened?' "
Typically, Gomez reacted calmly to her chase of Addison.
"I knew I was close," she said, "but I didn't really know how many I had. I was just trying to go up there and have good at-bats. I wasn't really worried about hitting home runs."
Perhaps that's why she does. She's a line drive hitter with the bat speed to make the ball disappear in a hurry. On Saturday, she went 6-for-7 with seven runs batted in and scored six times.
"She's a great athlete," Bryant said. "I know she's going to do well for us this year."
"Both Alana and Danyele love that 1-on-1 competition with the pitcher," Lotief said. "They love that."
It shows in the record book.
Originally published February 19, 2006
* * * * * * * * * *
Gomez begins swan song
February 10, 2006 -
Wasn't it just the other day that Danyele Gomez rifled her tape measure home run over the left field fence against Texas star Cat Osterman, driving in Jill Robertson with a two-run shot that produced a 2-1 lead in the 2003 Women's College World Series?
It wasn't, of course. Gomez has played some 130 games since that signature moment, racking up a plethora of impressive numbers for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball program.
But time quickly compresses when you're having fun.
"It seems like that was just yesterday," Gomez said this week of the WCWS experience. "It's gone by so fast, although sometimes it seems like it's taken forever. It flies by. It doesn't seem that long ago since I was moving into the dorm for the first time."
When Gomez arrived at UL from Cabrini High in New Orleans, she wasn't entirely convinced that she wanted to play softball in college. She was equally enamored with volleyball at the time.
"I played volleyball, basketball and softball until I got to high school, and then I concentrated on volleyball and softball," Gomez said. "I could have played volleyball here, and I had to decide which one to play. Something made me go toward softball."
That's a decision UL co-head coaches Stefni and Michael Lotief are eternally grateful for (see related story on Page 3B), and it was a choice made solely by Gomez.
"My parents (Jimmy and Analyn) wouldn't tell me what they preferred," Gomez said. "They let me decide, and then they supported me 100 percent. They didn't want to hint toward anything."
Once Gomez made the choice, her parents have been faithful followers at Ragin' Cajun Softball Park, as they're likely to be for this weekend's season-opening Louisiana Classics event.
What they and other UL followers will see is a two-time All-American enjoying what should be the climax of a stellar career.
Another choice took root far earlier in Gomez's life - the desire to be a doctor. The biology major has three semesters left before heading to medical school and is taking 17 hours of classes in her final campaign at UL.
"It's got to be done," Gomez said of the heavy class load. "I want to go to medical school. I've pretty much known since I can remember that I wanted to be a doctor. I started off wanting to be a veterinarian, then went to people. I've always had that passion for medicine."
Given Gomez's passion for medicine and her drive to excel in softball, there's little time for much else in the day.
"Another life? Not really," she admitted. "I guess I could have one, but I know what I want to do and I have to find a way to do that. I know what has to be done. It's so hard to get into med school. You have to know how to study and prepare before you get there."
If Gomez approaches the classroom like she studies her own swing and opposing pitchers, there can be no doubt she'll reach med school and succeed there.
"A good percentage of hitting is mental," said Gomez, a career .329 hitter with 53 career home runs, 178 runs batted in and a .670 slugging percentage in 187 collegiate games.
"Really, though, it's just a lot of hard work. You come early and stay late, and you work until you get to that point where you feel comfortable in what you're doing. I don't compare myself to someone else. You have to do as good as you think you can.
"You have to set high standards, and not accept not playing to your potential."
The versatile outfielder said fans would be surprised "at the amount of work that goes into college softball. They think it's easy, but I'd like to see them come out here for a couple of days and work hard like we do.
"When freshmen come here, they have no idea what to expect," Gomez added. "We try to help them. Coach Mike tells us to go all out on every pitch. You can't fluctuate during the game. If you blink on one play, that could make the difference and it could be a whole different story."
While Gomez takes the game and her preparation seriously, she's not pretentious as the squad's most honored performer. She simply wants others to prepare as she does.
"As one of the older players, I try to help the younger players, get them into it mentally," Gomez said. "We're not here to run the team, we just try to help get their intensity up.
"When I first got here, there were a bunch of seniors and a fifth-year coach who helped get my spirit up. You always want older players to try to help. You try to give back, and it can be behind the scenes help."
The Cajuns focused much of their preseason work on defense, hoping to make that one of their strengths in 2006 and knowing that it will pay off with classmates and fans.
"One of the things I've enjoyed here is the respect you get on campus as an athlete," Gomez said. "And I enjoy the fans. It's great to see smiles on so many faces. They're excited to be here, and that's something a normal student doesn't get the chance to experience. It's really nice for us."
That kind of support is rare in college softball.
"We've been to California and Miami, and we've had more fans there on the road with us than they have at home," Gomez said. "It is very unique. Some places don't have it. That they take time out of their day - friends and family - means a lot."
When a season routinely lasts between 50 and 70 games, some of the younger Cajuns can be intimidated or run out of steam.
"You might play 30 games in high school, and you never play doubleheaders," Gomez said. "Here, we play doubleheaders three days in a row. Toward the end, the freshman can feel tired. But they have to keep that mindset up."
Like Gomez has always seemed to do.
"A perfect season, ultimately, would mean winning the national championship," Gomez said. "I think it's realistic. It takes a lot of heart, a lot of hard work, and you have to keep your eye on that goal."
No one does that better than Gomez, who figures the effort will be rewarded.
"When you go on a medical school interview, they ask you your strengths and weaknesses," Gomez said. "You have to make your weakness one of your strengths. Everything you do is relevant to the real world."
Originally published February 10, 2006
DANYELE GOMEZ NAMED TO PRE-SEASON WATCH LIST FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
February 02, 2006 - Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
Two-time All-American outfielder listed among 50 players on USA Softball's Player of the Year Watch List
To view the 2006 USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List Please Click Here:
LAFAYETTE � Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns senior outfielder Danyele Gomez is one of 50 student-athletes nationally listed on the Amateur Softball Association's preseason watch list for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, released Wednesday.
Gomez, a Metairie native and two-time NFCA All-American, continues the Ragin' Cajuns' tradition of having a player named to this prestigious list. Former All-American pitcher Brooke Mitchell was a nominee the past two seasons.
This award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Past winners of this award include UCLA's Stacey Nuveman (2002), Florida State's Jessica Van der Linden (2004) and Texas' Cat Osterman (2003, 2005).
Gomez' accolades amply justify her selection to the list. Named to the NFCA All-America Team in 2003 and 2005, she was the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year after leading UL in home runs (20) and RBI (65). She's been a member of the All-Sun Belt First Team in each of the past three seasons.
Gomez tied her career-highs in hits and home runs last season and established a new personal-best for RBI. Over the last three weeks of regular season play she hit eight home runs, picked up 32 RBI, had a 1.078 slugging percentage and scored 16 runs. She Led the Sun Belt in hits (65), RBI (65), home runs (20), total bases (136) and slugging percentage (.731). In Sun Belt play she hit .371 with 10 homers, 33 RBI and a .935 slugging percentage.
She enters the 2006 season chasing a spot at the top of the UL record books. Gomez currently has 53 career home runs, which ranks in the Top 20 on the NCAA career charts, and needs only five more to break Alana Addison's school career record of 57. In her freshman season, Gomez became the first player to break Addison's single-season record when she went yard 20 times.
USA Softball will announce its 25 quarterfinalists on April 5, 2006. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered for the Top 25, but once the Top 25 is named the remaining finalists must be selected from that list.
Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 semifinalists will be named and released on May 10. The three finalists will be announced May 31. The winner of the 2006 award will be announced during the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The 2006 watch list contains six players who were among the Top 10 semifinalists for the 2005 award including Michigan's Jennie Ritter, Arizona's Caitlin Lowe and Osterman, who were the three finalists in Oklahoma City.
In 2004, former UL pitcher Brooke Mitchell made it to the Top 10 list. Another banner season for Gomez just might allow her to do the same thing.
Gomez and the rest of the 18th-ranked Ragin' Cajuns softball team are only eight days away from beginning the 2006 campaign. UL begins its season on Friday, Feb. 10 against Grambling State at 4:30 p.m., in the opening round of the 20th Annual Louisiana Classics at Alfred and Helen Lamson Ragin' Cajuns Softball Park.
April 26, 2005
DANYELE GOMEZ NAMED USA SOFTBALL'S NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Gomez is the first Ragin' Cajuns player to be named USA Softball
National Player of the Week
LAFAYETTE - This week's USA Softball National Player of the Week calls
Ragin' Cajuns Softball Park her home.
Louisiana-Lafayette junior right fielder Danyele Gomez (Metairie, La.)
followed up her first Sun Belt Player of the Week award of the season by
being named this week's USA Softball National Player of the Week on
Tuesday for her performance during the week of April 18-24. Gomez is the
first Ragin' Cajuns player to be named a USA Softball National Player of
Gomez (.348, 6 doubles, 13 home runs, 44 RBI) finished the week with a
.526 batting average (10-for-19) collecting two doubles, three home runs
and 14 RBI as she vaulted her way into the team lead for home runs (13)
and RBI (44). In the North Texas series sweep, Gomez hit .500 (6-for-12)
with one double, two home runs and a team-high nine RBI.
"It's truly an honor and I feel privileged to be selected as this week's
USA Softball National Player of the Week," Gomez said. "I've been
playing with a lot of confidence lately and have been swinging the bat
well which paid huge dividends for me last week. But, as usual my focus
as well as our team's focus is still to accomplish our team goals and
get better every game we play."
The Metairie native blasted two, three-run home runs in last Saturday's
second game against NT as she recorded her third multi-home run game of
the season and tied her career-high with six RBI. Her slugging
percentage for the entire week was 1.105 as she piled up 21 total bases
in 19 at bats.
Gomez, an All-American candidate this season, went 8-for-11 with runners
in scoring position (.727) and contributed nine 2-out RBI. She hit
safely in each game that Louisiana-Lafayette played during the week as
she extended her current hitting streak to seven games.
"We are thrilled and honored for this award," said Louisiana-Lafayette
co-head coach Michael Lotief. "I can't think of a more deserving
athlete of this award. She excels on the softball field and in the
classroom as a pre-med major.
"She is one of the best hitters in the country and she had one of the
most incredible weekends for our team," Lotief added. "She had some
mammoth home runs at opportune times. She is a hard working, humble kid
who sums up what it is all about to be a Ragin' Cajun."
Gomez is the first Louisiana-Lafayette player to win a national player
of the week honor since the 2001 season when former All-American Alana
Addison was named the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches
Association National Player of the Week on March 21, 2001.
The USA Softball National Player of the Week is designed to acknowledge
outstanding athletic achievement by individuals on a weekly basis. Each
recipient of the USA Softball National Player of the Week Award will
receive an engraved plaque and will be national recognized for their
accomplishments. A complete list of winners can be found on the USA
Softball web site at www.usasoftball.com.
Gomez and the Ragin' Cajuns will be back in action on Wednesday, April
27 at Nicholls State for a 4 p.m. doubleheader in Thibodaux.
Published in the March 23 edition of the Daily Advertiser
Gomez Gets It Done
Cajun junior outfielder is power source
Danyele Gomez isn't thinking home run every time she steps to the plate.
Sometimes it seems that way, since the junior outfielder has delivered 39 circuit shots in her college softball career for Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns, but Gomez is more likely to be thinking about the game situation, and what the Cajuns need in order to win, with every at-bat.
"When I'm at the plate, it depends on the game situation and where the runners are," said Gomez, a career .326 hitter. "I don't just go up there looking for home runs every time. It's what needs to be done for the team.
"If we need a sacrifice fly, I can do that. Or, if we need to roll it around I can roll it around."
Gomez is second on the team this year with a .358 batting average, with six home runs and 19 runs batted in, trailing only Lacey Bertucci (.373, 9, 27) in offensive production.
"When I'm in a groove at the plate, it's relaxing," Gomez said. "I feel comfortable up there. I don't have anything to worry about.
"I've always loved hitting, and that feeling of being at the plate and competing."
She has already been a part of 129 victories since arriving in 2003, including a Women's College World Series appearance as a freshman and a school-record 60-8 finish last season.
One of those 2004 wins was a momentous 5-0 shutout of Arizona, knocking the Wildcats out of the NCAA Regional they were hosting and costing them a return trip to the College World Series.
Gomez homered twice in that game and went 3-for-4 against All-American pitcher Alicia Hollowell to back the 6-hit pitching of UL's own All-American, Brooke Mitchell.
Hollowell and Mitchell will square off again this weekend when Arizona invades Ragin' Cajun Softball Park for a three-game series against Louisiana.
It's the highest-profile visit by a team since UCLA played here in the 1997 NCAA Regional, and the biggest invading foe in regular-season play in the program's history.
Arizona (24-2), which was last here in 1997, lost to Texas and Michigan in last weekend's Kia Klassic hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The Wildcats of coach Mike Candrea remain No.1 in one national poll, while Michigan is a new No. 1 in another.
The Cajuns (22-5) had a rough weekend at the Kia, winning once and losing three times on a cool, rainy weekend that featured unexpected twists and turns for each team there.
"I don't know what happened at the Kia," Gomez said. "We'll try to learn from it and go from there. When we figure out what we were doing wrong, we need to make sure we fix what needs to be fixed.
"We're working on making our swings more efficient. We need to go out and play relaxed and focused this weekend, think about playing against ourselves, really."
The Cajuns are accustomed to playing the top tier of programs in the country, both in regular season and postseason play, so the visit by Arizona is nothing new.
Gomez herself arrived on the national stage with a mammoth home run against Texas' Cat Osterman in the 2003 WCWS, and newcomers to the UL program are expected to meet a high standard.
"I think the new players have a good sense of it," Gomez said. "When we practice, we're here to accomplish something. Naturally, the younger players feed off the older ones, and we set the tone for where we want the program to be."
Gomez set a school record with 20 home runs as a freshman (broken last year by Holly Tankersley) and came back with 13 last year while playing third base. This year she's back in the outfield.
"Moving back to the outfield this year, it's a completely different read from third base," Gomez said. "You have to react and position yourself instead of just reacting. You have to make angles and stuff.
"We talk in the outfield. Jill (senior center fielder Jill Robertson) will move one way, and we'll adjust to her. We go over situations and where we want to go with the ball."
That's a busy time of it for a player who pitched and was a designated hitter at Cabrini High in New Orleans.
"I was always a pitcher since I was little," said Gomez, who is happy at other positions. "I sort of fell into it."
No matter her position, whether it's with home runs or line drives or sacrifice flies, Gomez now makes life miserable for opposing pitchers.
Danyele Gomez Statistics
G AB R H HR RBI AVG
2003 58 183 42 65 20 62 .355
2004 68 212 43 61 13 51 .288
2005 27 81 21 29 6 19 .358
TOTALS 153 476 106 155 39 132 .326
UL Career Home Runs
Player (Years) HR
1. Alana Addison (1999-2002) 57
2. Stephanie DeFeo (1994-97) 43
3. Danyele Gomez (2003-Present) 39
4. Jana Mower (1998-2001) 32
5. Tiffany Clark (1997-2000) 31
6. Kathy Morton (1992-95) 29
7. Becky McMurtry (2002-2003) 28
Originally published March 24, 2005
Softball: NFCA NAMES DANYELE GOMEZ TO 2005 ALL-AMERICA TEAM
Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
Junior right fielder earns All-American status for the second time in her career
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. � During the 2005 season Louisiana-Lafayette junior right fielder Danyele Gomez became the first player in the softball program's history to reach 20 home runs in a season for a second time. On Thursday, she became the 11th Ragin' Cajuns player to pick up an All-American honor for the second time.
A total of 54 players amongst all Division I schools were named to the 2005 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-America first, second and third teams. The awards were announced Thursday afternoon on ESPN between the opening two games of the NCAA Division I softball Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
All three teams were selected by NFCA-member, NCAA Division I coaching representatives, based on nominations from the 2005 season.
Gomez, the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, was selected to the third team as a member of the outfield. Her selection marks the seventh straight season that at least one player from Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball team was named to the NFCA All-America Team.
The selection was the 34th in Louisiana-Lafayette softball history and since 1989. Louisiana-Lafayette has had at least one All-American in 16 of the last 17 seasons.
This season's honor marked Gomez's return to the NFCA Division I All-America team and was the second selection of her career. The Metairie native was a member of the 2003 NFCA Division I All-America team selected as a third-team member in her freshman season. Just like her freshman season, she was voted directly onto the team as opposed to being an at-large selection.
Gomez ended the season leading the Ragin' Cajuns in base hits (65), doubles (11), home runs (20), RBI (64), total bases (136) and slugging percentage (.731). As of May 15, she ranked third in the NCAA stats for RBI per game and eighth in home runs per game.
The Cajuns' power-hitter made her push and solidified her All-American selection with a stellar performance as the 2005 season came to a close. Over the last three weeks of regular season play she hit eight home runs, picked up 32 RBI, had a 1.078 slugging percentage and scored 16 runs.
She drew attention on the national level on April 26 when she was named the USA Softball National Player of the Week. Gomez finished the week of April 18-24 with a .526 batting average (10-for-19) collecting two doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI.
Her 65 RBI were a personal-best while her 136 total bases marked the second time in her career with 130-plus total bases (had 137 as a freshman in 2003). Gomez ended the season with 4 multi-home run games, 19 multi-hit games and 17 multi-RBI games.
On May 1 at Western Kentucky she joined elusive company with the 50th home run of her career. Gomez joined Alana Addison as the only two players in Louisiana-Lafayette history to reach 50-plus home runs in a career. Her current career total of 53 home runs in four shy of Addison's school career record and ranks as the 20th-most in NCAA Division I history.
She secured the second 20-home run season of her career when she homered off of Oregon's Amy Harris in the opening round of the Norman Regional on May 20. Her 2005 home run total included roundtrippers off of Arizona's Alicia Hollowell Georgia's Michelle Green, Arizona State's Katie Burkhart and Long Beach State's Marcel Torres.
A member of the 2005 NFCA South Region First Team, Gomez joined the Top 5 in school history for career home runs (53) and career RBI (178). Her 65 RBI were the fifth-most in a single season.
Since co-head coaches Stefni and Michael Lotief took over the Ragin' Cajuns softball program in 2001, the Cajuns have received six All-America honors.
2005 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-America Teams
Originally published in the Daily Advertiser, June 3, 2005
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