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Ms. Ashley Brignac
River Ridge, Louisiana
|Brignac shines in UL debut
RUSTON - With the possible exception of Team USA, Ashley Brignac has had to carry the pitching load for every one of her softball teams.
That's probably why the much-heralded Brignac was as excited as anyone else after UL teammate Donna Bourgeois twirled a shutout in her collegiate debut Saturday - a 6-0 tournament-opening win over UL Monroe in Louisiana Tech's Lady Techster Tournament
"Everyone on this team has been waiting on this for what seems like forever," Brignac said of the opening day of the Ragin' Cajun season. "We just wanted to get started."
And what a start it was. Two hours after Teurlings Catholic product Bourgeois stymied ULM, Brignac was as dominant as expected in finishing off a 13-0 crunching of the host Tech squad.
The pride of River Ridge and John Curtis Christian School made her double-zero uniform number match her runs and walks allowed in the five-inning run-rule victory.
One at-bat marred perfection. Tech's Regan Clark, leading off the second inning, was way late on a swing, but thanks to Brignac's velocity the ball dinged off Clark's bat and flew into right field for a single.
If that bothered Brignac, the 18-year-old didn't show it. She proceeded to strike out five of the next six hitters, and no one else reached base.
"As a coach you never know for sure what's going to happen," said Cajun head coach Stefni Lotief. "You have to be ready when the time comes."
When the time came, several UL defenders became spectators. Right fielder Holly Tankersley handled that one second-inning hit and threw it back in to second baseman Vanessa Soto, and that was the only instance when Soto or any Cajun outfielder touched the ball.
Three ground-ball outs and two infield pop-ups were the only other balls in play, other than catcher Lana Bowers having to throw to first base twice after strikeouts in the dirt.
"She's still developing some things," Lotief said. "She wants to get better, and that's a great statement when you consider the success she's already had."
That reputation made Bourgeois the "other" new Cajun pitcher, and made her debut even more impressive.
"Everyone wanted to see Ashley pitch," said Tankersley, the team's only active senior with previous UL experience. "But Donna's one tough competitor."
"Donna's a drop-ball pitcher," said co-head coach Michael Lotief. "She puts it on the ground, and our defense played well behind her."
"She is just steady," Stefni Lotief said of Bourgeois, who threw 60 of her 84 pitches for strikes. "She worked her game plan and had a lot of success."
Brignac followed and blew everyone away, going to a three-ball count twice in the first inning and only once after that in a no-walk effort. Even that wasn't surprising, since she walked only 13 batters (and allowed only 14) hits in 160 innings last season for John Curtis.
"It was everything I'd hoped for," Brignac said. "We won 13-0. How much better can it get?"
If Saturday was any indication, it can get better.
"She came up to me not long ago and told me she still has a long way to go," Stefni Lotief said. "After today, as a coach, that gives you chills."
Daily Advertiser February 10, 2008
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World Champs! USA Jr. Women Capture Gold
Softball 06/30/2007 Courtesy RaginCajuns.com
Courtesy of www.usasoftball.com
ENSCHEDE, Netherlands-As a lazy fly ball landed in the glove of Brittany Lastrapes, the third base dugout emptied onto the field in celebration as the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team defeated Japan 3-1 Saturday afternoon to become the new world champions. The win capped off a perfect 11 days as the Americans went 10-0 to capture the championship of the ISF Junior Women's World Championship at the Tex Town Complex.
The win didn't come easy as the USA had to fight from behind early. Japan scored an unearned run in the top of the first inning to mark just the second time in 10 games the USA has trailed. But the Americans took the lead back in the second inning thanks to a two-run, five-hit effort.
Tiffany Huff (Saugus, Calif.) got the rally going with a single to center field. Ashley Brignac (River Ridge, La.) singled up the middle to put two on with two out. Bianca Mejia (Sylmar, Calif.) came through with a big RBI single up the middle to tie the game. And later in the inning, Lastrapes (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) singled through the right side of the infield to drive in Brignac and give the USA the lead.
The USA tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning when Monica Harrison (Garden Grove, Calif.) reached on a fielder's choice, driving in Alissa Haber (Newark, Calif.) to make it 3-1. The Japanese team had several chances, putting runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but couldn't capitalize. In the seventh, Japan got the leadoff runner on and moved her to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Donna Kerr (San Diego, Calif.) got a strikeout and then got Yuki Hayashi to fly out to Lastrapes in left field to set off a wild celebration.
"Obviously, we're all very excited," Lastrapes said. "I'm really proud to represent my country and to be the first USA Junior team to win the gold in 12 years. Even when we fell behind today, we kept battling and we never gave up. We knew we could do it; we just want to panic."
Brignac got the start in the gold medal game and went 3.1 innings. She allowed one unearned run on six hits while walking one and striking out one. Megan Elliott (Prince Frederick, Md.) picked up the win in relief, throwing two strong innings while giving up four hits. Kerr pitched the final 1.2 innings, striking out two, to pick up the save.
"I thought we fought back after falling behind early to put some runs on the board to go ahead," said head coach Jay Miller. "We gave ourselves a chance every inning and I knew it was just a matter of time before we broke through. But Japan did the same thing. We really stepped up defensively and got great pitching from all three girls. They got us out of jams. It was just a great team effort and a great job from the pitching staff to shut down an outstanding Japan team."
At the plate, the USA had five players - Lastrapes, Haber, Ashley Hansen (Chandler, Ariz.), Harrison and Mejia - record two hits apiece, while Huff and Brignac each had one.
Lastrapes was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, and was also named to the all-tournament team as the tournament's best left fielder. She batted .548 with 17 hits, six RBI and five stolen bases. Viefhaus was named the tournament's best third baseman, earning all-tournament honors. She batted .429 with nine hits and six RBI
"I can't explain how I felt when they called my name," Lastrapes said. "I was completely in shock, but I was also so excited. I've never felt that before."
The championship game marked the USA's sixth consecutive time in the gold medal contest, winning in 1987 in Oklahoma City, Okla., 1995 in Normal. Ill., and now 2007 in Enschede, Netherlands. For the tournament, the Red, White and Blue outscored its opponents 88-4.
"I'm just really proud," Miller said. "The kids bought in to what we were trying to do from day one and came together as a ball club. I'm very proud of the way they represented the United States and USA Softball. This was a great group to work with. The coaching staff - Suzy Brazney, Barbara Jordan and Cheri Kempf - did a wonderful job in terms of scouting our opponents and preparing our team to play. It was just a great team effort by everyone involved."
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Wednesday, June 6, 2007
CAJUN SIGNEE BRIGNAC NAMED GATORADE NATIONAL SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ashley Brignac became the first female recipient from Louisiana to win
LAFAYETTE � Incoming Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns softball signee Ashley
Brignac (River Ridge, La./John Curtis) was named the 2006-07 Gatorade
National Softball Player of the Year Wednesday.
Brignac became the first female recipient from Louisiana to win
Gatorade National Player of the Year honors, joining Peyton Manning
(1993-94), Travis Minor (1996-97), Brock Berlin (1999-00) and Randy
The award, which recognizes not only athletic performance, but also
meeting high standards of academic achievement while demonstrating
exemplary personal character on and off the field, distinguishes
Brignac as the nation's best high school softball player. Brignac is
now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete
of the Year Award which will be presented at a special ceremony the
afternoon prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
Brignac concluded her highly decorated prep career for the John Curtis
Christian Patriots, leading the team to their fifth-straight state
title � the program's second consecutive in Class 2A. As a senior, she
struck out 421 batters, allowing just 14 hits and 13 walks in 159.2
innings en route to a 25-0 record with a 0.00 ERA. She also pitched 21
shutouts, while tossing 21 no-hitters and seven perfect games.
She also hit .500 with six home runs and a .869 slugging percentage.
The two-time Louisiana Sports Writers Association's Farm-Bureau-Miss
Softball selection, Brignac posted a 31-1 record his junior season,
striking out 491 batters. She posted a flawless 0.00 ERA in leading
her team to the state crown.
In 2006, she competed on the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team
that won the 2006 Pan Am Championship with a 10-0 record. She will
depart for the Netherlands later this month where the team will
compete in the Junior World Championships.
Brignac's accomplishments, however, have not just been on the softball
field. She maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and was
co-valedictorian of her class. For her academic efforts, she was
selected to the Louisiana All-Academic softball squad.
"She's as good as there is in the country," John Curtis Christian
Director of Athletics J.T. Curtis said. "She's really one of those
special players and special people that only come around once in a
great while. As far as an all-around person, she is as close to being
perfect as you can get."
The Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in each
of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in football, girls
volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball,
baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field. The selection
process is administered by RISE Magazine, which works with top
sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished,
veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each
Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:
� 2007 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
� Two-time American League Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez
� NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
� WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
� Softball gold medalist Cat Osterman
� Beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
� Reigning 200-meter world champion Allyson Felix
For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including
nomination information and lists of past winners and future
announcement dates, visit www.gatorade.com/playeroftheyear.
UL softball to sign premier recruit
Pitcher Brignac considered one of nation's best
UL's softball team is expected to receive a signed letter of intent today from one of the most honored recruits in the program's history, just before she leaves to join the U.S. Junior National Team.
Pitcher Ashley Brignac of John Curtis, last year's Louisiana Miss Softball and generally regarded as one of the nation's top prep hurlers, is scheduled to sign with the Ragin' Cajuns today prior to a trip to Caguas, Puerto Rico, as part of the U.S. team competing for a spot in the Junior Women's World Championships.
In fact, she'll send in her paperwork today from Orlando, Fla., where the USA team is practicing in preparation for the Puerto Rico tournament.
"We were at Disney World today with our jackets and our USA stuff on," Brignac said, "and we were getting congratulations from everybody, taking pictures and signing autographs. It's pretty special to be able to play for the USA. When I was little my dream was always to be in the Olympics, and, with this, maybe it could come true in the future."
For her collegiate career, the future is now. Today is the first day of the NCAA's early signing period, when high school seniors in winter and spring sports can sign national letters of intent. Brignac is easily the most high-profile among the expected signings for the Cajun softball team.
"She's a great athlete," said John Curtis softball coach Kristy Hebert, "but she has also worked so long and so hard at her pitching that she's made herself a great player. She's accomplished a lot because she's very goal-oriented, and she hasn't deviated from her goals."
Brignac led John Curtis to its fourth straight state title last spring, going 30-1 with a perfect 0.00 ERA. In her 31 appearances she threw 11 no-hitters - nine of them perfect games - and 18 one-hitters.
She struck out 491 of the 639 batters she faced as a junior, allowing only 26 hits and 19 walks in 196 innings in recording 26 shutouts. Her lone loss came against five-time Class 5A state champion St. Amant.
Brignac also hit .442 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI to go with 18 stolen bases.
"She's definitely an athlete," Hebert said. "She does a lot more than pitch."
Brignac was the state's Class 2A Outstanding Player, the state's softball Gatorade Player of the Year, the District 10-2A MVP and the MVP on the All-East Bank and Metro teams.
Curtis moved down to 2A from 4A before Brignac's junior year.
Originally published November 8, 2006
Matt Hebert, Sports Information -
LAFAYETTE � University of Louisiana at Lafayette co-head softball coaches Stefni and Michael Lotief announced on Wednesday the signing of one of the nation�s top pitching prospects to a National Letter of Intent for the 2008 season.
Ashley Brignac, last year�s Louisiana Miss Softball, signed on to be a part of the Ragin� Cajuns� incoming freshman class for the Fall 2007 semester.
Brignac is currently a senior pitcher at John Curtis High School in River Ridge, La.
She has posted 30-plus victories, 400-plus strikeouts and 20-plus shutouts in the past two seasons helping lead John Curtis to two state championships.
She was recently selected to the 2006 USA Softball Junior Women's National team.
She was 30-1 last season with an earned run average of 0.00. Brignac struck out 491 of the 639 batters that she faced as a junior, allowing only 26 hits and 19 walks in 196 innings. She tossed 26 shutouts and 11 no-hitters of which nine were perfect games
Brignac also made an impact at the plate. She hit .442 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI to go with 18 stolen bases.
Honors were plenty for Brignac after the stellar campaign. She was named the state�s Class 2A Outstanding Player, the state�s softball Gatorade Player of the Year, the District 10-2A MVP and was selected MVP of the All-East Bank and Metro teams.
Brignac�s breakout season came as a sophomore in 2005. She posted a 31-3 record with a 0.19 ERA all while collecting 466 strikeouts and 24 shutouts.
Combined with the numbers from her freshman season, Brignac is 67-4 overall with 1,033 career strikeouts, 56 career shutouts and 16 career perfect games.
November 8, 2006
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