Notre Dame dominates Acadia Parish All-Decade softball team
When it comes to high school softball, Acadia Parish is a hotbed for talent.
All six area teams have been dominate from time to time, with each making it to the Fast Pitch 56 State Tournament at least once in the last 10 years.
No team, however, has been more dominant than the Notre Dame Lady Pios.
From 2011 through the shortened 2020 season, the Lady Pios compiled a record of 214-58 and made it to the state tournament each of those seasons. They have played in the quarterfinals three times and the semifinals twice in addition to four appearances in the state title game, winning twice in 2018 and 2019.
So it should come as no surprise that the Lady Pios dominated another team, this one the Crowley Post-Signal All-Decade Softball team that was released today.
Headlining the unit is former ND coach Ashley Ray, who is the Coach of the Decade, and MVP Sydnei Simon.
Ray took over the reigns of the Lady Pios in 2014 and had a very successful four-year stint at the school before taking the head softball coaching position at Southside High School in Youngsville.
During her tenure at Notre Dame, Ray guided the Lady Pios to a 79-20 record as her squad got better and better each season. In 2015, the team bowed out in the quarterfinal round and a year later made it to the semifinals.
In 2017, the Lady Pios dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to No. 1-seed Calvary Baptist in the Division III state title game and a year later, in Ray’s final year, they won the school’s first state softball title since 2010.
Ray was named the All-Acadia Parish Coach of the Year in both 2016 and 2017.
A huge factor in the Lady Pios’ success was the play of Simon, who earned All-Acadia Parish MVP honors in 2018 and 2019 and helped the Lady Pios claim back-to-back state titles.
Simon was a four-year starter for the Lady Pios and a four-time All-Acadia Parish selection. She was also named to the Class 2A All-State team in her final two seasons at Notre Dame.
During her junior season, Simon began the year at shortstop before an injury to star pitcher Marcella Gossen forced her into the circle.
Simon was up to the challenge and won seven straight games, including all three of the Lady Pios’ playoff games.
Overall, Simon logged 42 innings in the circle and posted a 2.667 earned run average with 27 strikeouts.
At the plate, Simon hit .467 from the leadoff spot with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 25 RBI. She struck out just three times in 95 plate appearances.
Her best season, however, was a year later when she helped lead the Lady Pios to a perfect 32-0 record as well as the Division III state title.
From baffling batters in the circle to leading the team in several offensive categories, she did it all.
In the circle, the LSUE signee allowed just four hits and no runs over 28 innings against District 6-2A competition.
On the season, she was just as impressive.
Heading into the playoffs, she had faced 462 batters and allowed just 57 hits and 16 runs. Through 123 2/3 innings in the circle, she had an earned run average of 0.623 to go along with 205 strikeouts.
Simon was also a major player at the plate from her leadoff spot in the order. She finished the regular season with a batting average of .550 and led the team in hits (55) and triples (5). She also logged 15 doubles, five home runs and 51 RBI.
In her first season at LSUE, Simon struck out 37 batters in 62 innings and was hitting .376 with six doubles, two triples, two home runs and 23 RBI before the season was halted due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The Best of the Rest
Simon is joined on the All-Decade team by her sister Taylor Simon, who was the 2011 All-Acadia Parish MVP. The three-sport, multitalented athlete helped lead the Lady Pios to the quarterfinals during her senior year by posting a batting average of .571 with seven doubles, four triples, two home runs and 14 RBI.
The elder Simon went on to play two years at LSUE and then wrapped up her softball career at LSU-Alexandria for her final two seasons.
Rayne’s Mariel Meche, who gave Simon a run for MVP honors in 2011, also earned a spot on the All-Decade team.
Meche, who also played at LSUE, helped lead the Lady Wolves to the quarterfinals in Class 3A by going 17-9 in the circle with a 1.18 earned run average. She also hit .393 with six home runs and 25 RBI.
Both Simon and Meche were first-team selections on the 2011 5-3A All-District team as well as the Class 3A All-State team.
Another set of pitchers to make the unit are Iota’s Abigail Leonards and Notre Dame’s Mollie Stelly, who were Co-MVPs on the All-Acadia Parish team in 2012.
Leonards went 18-6 in the circle for the Lady Dogs during her MVP campaign as a sophomore and posted an earned run average of 1.09. She struck out 200 batters in 148 innings and walked just 15.
At the plate, she hit .455 with seven doubles, four triples and 22 RBI.
Stelly, who was also a sophomore in 2012, went 23-10 on the season with 11 shutouts. She struck out 233 batters in 188 innings and finished the season with an ERA of 1.13.
Leonards went on to play collegiately at LSUE and Arkansas-Monticello. Stelly signed and played at Baton Rouge Community College.
Notre Dame’s Taylor Boulet made the unit as well after being named the All-Parish MVP in 2013. The LSU signee hit .415 on the season with 14 doubles, six triples, one home run and 23 RBI. In addition she stole 16 bases.
Boulet went on to letter all four years at LSU where she stole 44 bases.
The long list of Lady Pios to make the team also includes former All-Parish MVP’s Elise LeBeouf (2014), Taylor Satchell (2015), Mima Doucet (2016) and Marcella Gossen (2017).
LeBeouf, a junior duing her MVP season, hit .523 and had an on base percentage of .622. She struck out just six times in 98 plate appearances and logged nine doubles, nine triples and one home run. The All-State selection and District MVP played at Houston for two seasons before wrapping up her college career at Oklahoma State during her final two seasons.
Satchell hit for a .557 clip during her senior season with 10 doubles, five triples and seven home runs. The LSU signee also drove in a team-high 38 runs and struck out just three times in 81 plate appearances.
Satchell hit .303 for the Lady Tigers over two seasons before transferring to Texas Tech, where she hit .296 with 10 home runs in her final year.
Doucet was the Lady Pios’ statistical leader in nearly every offensive category in helping lead her team to a state runnerup finish. She led the team in hits (41), runs (35) and walks (15) while striking out just twice in 100 plate appearances. The All-State selection hit for a team-high average of .488 with 13 doubles, four home runs and 33 RBI.
Doucet went on to play at LSUE, where she earned All-American status, and she is currently a junior on the Southeastern University roster.
Gossen, a hard-throwing right hander, shouldered the load in the circle, pitching all but six innings in the Lady Pios’ 26 games. She posted an impressive 1.468 ERA and struck out 119 batters.
At the plate, the All-State selection hit .392 with four doubles, five home runs and 31 RBI.
Gossen is currently playing for Nicholls where she was a redshirt freshman this year.
The final member of the All-Decade team is current Notre Dame standout Maci Bergeron, who was recently named the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year.
The power-hitting catcher blasted 34 home runs in 44 games over the past two seasons. She is the nation’s No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2022 and is a verbal commitment to LSU.
Other notable players from the last decade incude:
Crowley High: Olivia Boullion, Bailee Villejoin, Phobee Spell and Nella LaGrange; Northside Christian: Zoie Hanagriff, Angel Allen and Kelsey Gaspard; Iota: Mckenzie Armand, Cameron Crochet and Madeline Link; Rayne: Katelyn Peltier and Kelci Bourgeois; Church Point’s Olivia Daigle.