Brusly High was close to a state softball title the previous two years, finishing as the runner-up in 2011 and advancing to the semifinals in 2012.
In 2013, the Panthers and their ace, junior Carli Jo Leblanc, left nothing to chance. Leblanc compiled a 26-1 record while leading Brusly to a 33-2 record and its first state softball title since 1997.
Now Leblanc leads another team — the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A All-State team. The junior was voted the Outstanding Player on the softball squad that also features three teammates. She finished with a 0.95 ERA and 234 strikeouts. Leblanc also hit .348 with 37 RBIs.
“I always think I could do better,” Leblanc said. “I’m never going to be satisfied. But I feel like I had my best year so far.
“It really is a great team honor, and I appreciate being selected. But all-in-all this was a team effort. We did it as a team.”
The LSWA’s 3A Outstanding Player award for baseball went to another pitcher from District 7-3A, E.D. White senior right-hander Scott Szush, who was 14-0 and led his team to a 28-5 record and a state runner-up finish. The Southeastern Louisiana University signee also threw 26 scoreless innings in the playoffs.
Leblanc’s coach, Brusly coach Beau Bouvier, was nominated for the LSWA’s Class 3A Coach of the Year award for softball, but it went to the coach of the team who fell 2-1 to Brusly in the state semifinals — Jena’s Felicia Hailey, who led her team to a 20-6 record, a share of the District 3-3A championship and the program’s first LHSAA tournament win.
The LSWA baseball Coach of the Year award went to North DeSoto’s Bo Odom, who led his team to the semifinals despite having to replace several key players from the Griffins’ 2012 state title team. North DeSoto won 23 straight games before losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Parkview Baptist.
Parkview Baptist’s Darron Mitchell and E.D. White Catholic’s Shane Trosclair, who led the Cardinals to the Class 3A title game, also were nominated for the coach’s honor.
Leblanc is joined on the softball squad by third baseman Lanesha Taylor (.481, 55 RBIs, 33 runs scored) and two outfielders, Carlie Comeaux (.515, 43 RBIs, 43 runs) and Akiya Thymes (.477, 58 runs). Parkview Baptist’s Nicky Dawson (.505, 38 runs, 25 RBIs) also made the team as a shortstop. E.D. White’s Abby Richard (.406, 26 RBIs) and Kali Clement (.438, 7 HR, 37 RBIs, 54) runs) made the team at utliity spots.
Parkview Baptist pitcher Zack Hamilton (10-2, 2.17 ERA, batted .371 with 29 RBIs) was voted to the baseball squad, along with a teammate, outfielder Hezekiah Randolph (.369, 25 RBIs).
Brusly also placed two players on the baseball squad, pitcher Taylor Prejean (10-2, 0.87 ERA, batted .391, 32 RBIs), and outfielder Kwanstan Adkins (.431, 6 home runs, 31 RBIs, 47 runs), while Livonia placed shortstop Ty Gurr (.430, 6 HR, 48 RBIs) and outfielder Jarrod Jarreau (.454, 41 runs, 8-2 pitching record.
E.D. White catcher Logan Barbera (.360, 35 RBIs) and second baseman Seth Gravois (.403) also made the team. St. Charles Catholic’s Chad McNeil (.359, 26 RBIs) and Jewel Sumner’s Chase Birch (.438, 50 RBIs, 7-2 pitching record) claimed utility spots.