ULL, NW State players earn top Louisiana softball honors

Louisiana-Lafayette catcher Sarah Draheim and Northwestern State coach Donald Pickett produced career-best seasons in 2013 to earn two of the top awards on the All-Louisiana collegiate softball team.

Draheim, a .267 hitter through her first three seasons with the Ragin’ Cajuns, collected 15-of-18 votes for Hitter of the Year after batting .423 with 15 home runs and 63 runs batted in. Although it’s the seventh time in 11 seasons that a UL Lafayette player was voted Hitter of the Year, it’s the first time a catcher from any school has won this award, which was created in 2003.

Pickett, 83-128 through his four seasons at Northwestern State, led the Lady Demons to a 40-15 record, a school-record .727 winning percentage and their first Southland Conference tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002. He is the Lady Demons’ first Louisiana Coach of the Year in this sport since 1998.

UL Lafayette sophomore right-hander Jordan Wallace was voted Pitcher of the Year. Pitchers Ashley Czechner of LSU and Kaylee Guidry of Northwestern State shared the Newcomer of the Year award, and LSU shortstop Bianka Bell was chosen Freshman of the Year.

A Louisiana Sports Writers Association panel of media and sports publicists selected the All-Louisiana team, based on statistics and performances through the teams’ conference tournaments.

For the sixth consecutive year, UL Lafayette leads the state in first-team selections. The Ragin’ Cajuns have four. Joining Draheim and Wallace on the first team are shortstop Nerissa Myers and outfielder Briana Cherry. LSU and Northwestern State have three first-team selections apiece, and Louisiana Tech has two.

Wallace, on the first team for the second consecutive year and the 2012 Freshman of the Year, was 28-7 with a 1.89 ERA and 331 strikeouts in 214.1 innings.

She pitched an extra-inning no-hitter against Florida Atlantic and struck out a school-record 18 batters against Middle Tennessee.

The Ragin’ Cajuns finished the year 47-15 and reached an NCAA super regional for the fourth time in six seasons.

LSU’s Czechner, a transfer from Chattanooga State Community College and a junior from Pawley’s Island, S.C., was 10-1 with a 2.96 ERA and victories against three top-20 teams from the SEC: Alabama, Missouri and Kentucky.

Guidry, a transfer from two-year LSU-Eunice and a junior from Walker, was 12-3 with one save for Northwestern State and a 1.66 ERA. She was 8-1 in Southland Conference games.

Bell set an LSU record of 12 consecutive games with an RBI. She hit .356 with 12 home runs and 47 RBI and was the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year. Bell tied with Myers in the voting at first-team shortstop. It was the third consecutive year that Myers made the first team.

The other first-team selections are pitcher Rachele Fico and outfielder A.J. Andrews of LSU, first baseman Brianna Rodriguez, third baseman Brittany Virgoe and designated player Cassandra Barefield of Northwestern State, second baseman Amanda Krueger and utility player Melanie Goff of Louisiana Tech and outfielder Alanna DiVittorio of McNeese State.

On the second team are third baseman Janna Fandrup and designated player Erin Kipp of Louisiana Tech, second baseman Allison Falcon and outfielder Jacee Blades of LSU, third baseman Jaci Trahan and utility player Paulean Gonzalez of NAIA member LSU-Alexandria, pitcher Meagan Bond and catcher Ashley Modzelewski of McNeese State, first baseman Matte Haack and outfielder Shellie Landry of UL-Lafayette, third baseman Megan Moore and outfielder Kelsey Nichols of Southeastern Louisiana and pitcher Kylie Roos of Northwestern State.