GONZALES — Angela Leblanc stood near the first-base line, glove in hand, Saturday during the fourth inning of the inaugural East Ascension High School alumnae softball game.
“I’m ready to go in at any minute,” Leblanc, a 1977 graduate and former softball player, said.
Leblanc recalled her days playing in a lot across the street from Lady Spartan Field.
“We had four bases and a pitcher’s mound and that’s it,” she said.
“The team has come a long way since those days when I played,” she said. “I’m so impressed with the facilities they have today and how far the program has come.
“I’m proud to say that I was there in the beginning,” she said.
Leblanc was one of more than 30 former EA softball players who grabbed a bat and glove for the school’s first alumnae softball game.
“We wanted it to be a day of fun,” softball coach Amy Pitre said.
EA teacher Jamie Andrews said the game was designed to raise awareness of and support for the softball program.
Leblanc and Sonia Templet, a member of the school’s first team in 1975, were among the older players on the field.
“I’ve made a few pretty good catches and even made a few good throws,” Templet said.
Templet brought her high school year book and letterman’s sweater from that first year.
“We played one game that year and it was in the playoffs,” Templet said. “We fought and fought to get a team together that year ... and ended up playing just that one game.”
While that team lost its first and only game, Templet said they were part of a tradition that has flourished over the years.
Templet said that before playing that first high school game, she played slow-pitch softball all of her life.
“We really, really wanted a high school team and we got one,” she said.
Today, Templet lives “in the middle of Gatorland (St. Amant) but I’m gold and blue all the way.”
As the women took to the field, fans ate jambalaya and cheered.
In the stands, Nolan Osborne 2, clapped as his mother, Casey Elliot Osborne came to bat.
Martha Elliot, Casey’s mother, said she spent “many, many hours” watching Casey and her oldest daughter Jessica play for the Lady Spartans.
“I love sports,” she said, “so, I’m glad they’re doing this.”
“Run Casey run,” Elliot said as her daughter ran from first base to home plate for a score.
Many of the alumnae wore T-shirts specially designed for the day which said “Once a Spartan, Always a Spartan.”
“It’s so true,” Leblanc said. “Once a Spartan, you’re always a Spartan.”