How Many UL Softball Players Will Be Named All-SBC?
How many members of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will be named when the Sun Belt Conference announces its softball all-conference honorees on Tuesday night?
My guess is three.
Now, I certainly hope I'm wrong, and that there are more.
There well could be, especially if a few utility spots are named. But for now, I'm sticking with three.
An obvious pick is pitcher Summer Ellyson, who will be a first-team selection.
A sophomore right-hander, Ellyson has been sensational this season, recording 19 wins, and a 1.42 ERA., both of which rank second in the league, to go along with 186 strikeouts, which ranks third.
Randi Rupp of Texas St., who leads the conference in wins (25), ERA. (1.10), and strikeouts (286), will be crowned Pitcher of the Year, but Ellyson will unquestionably join her on the first-team.
Ellyson is the only Louisiana player that is a guaranteed first-team pick, although I can make a solid argument for a couple of more.
Alissa Dalton will make either the first or second-team.
A sophomore shortstop Dalton is third in the conference in hitting, at a .390, to go along with 3 home runs, 29 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases.
Ariel Ortiz of Texas St. is the only other option at shortstop, but a good one, as she's hitting a .333, to go along with 6 homers, 33 RBI's, and 14 stolen bases.
This one is close to call, with Dalton having the advantage in batting average, while Ortiz leads slightly in homers and RBI's.
Yes, I'm partial, but I'd take Dalton, who I believe is the best defensive shortstop in the conference.
Really, she would be my pick.
That being said, I think Ortiz, who is a senior, and was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year, gets the nod, if only one shortstop is named to the first-team, due to her history in the league, and her offensive numbers.
Maybe Dalton makes the the first-team as an extra shortstop, or a utility player, but if not, she'll be named second-team, ahead of ULM's Jayden Mount, who has also had a really good year, and deserves consideration as well.
I'm not even 100% what type of format they will use to name the team. Last year, they named four pitchers, along with a catcher, a player at every infield position, three outfielders, and two extra/utility players.
If they name a utility player, Dalton should be named first-team. If not, she'll certainly be on the second-team.
Third base is also interesting.
UL's Kara Gremillion deserves to be on the team somewhere, after hitting a .322 with 15 steals, but Georgia Southern's Hannah Farrell has a solid case, after hitting a .333 with 9 homers, which ranks tied for 6th in the league.
Again, because of her terrific defense, I'd take Gremillion, but the league may go with Farrell, due to her power numbers.
Still, Gremillion, a junior, will be named to the team, either first-team or second-team.
Those are the only three players that I see being honored, unless somebody else makes it as some type of utility player.
The two with the most solid arguments are catcher Lexie Comeaux and first baseman Kourtney Gremillion.
Comeaux has been really good over the past six weeks, and is hitting a .298 with 26 RBI's.
The problem is the league is strong at catcher, and with Georgia St.'s Ivie Drake, who I'd vote for Hitter of the Year, UTA's Reagan Wright, and Appalachian St.'s Jenny Dodd (mostly a DH), it will be difficult for any other catcher to break through.
Catcher may very well be the deepest position in the league.
Kourtney Gremillion has been solid all year, hitting a .297 with 20 RBI's, while providing good defense.
Texas St.'s Hailey MacKay, who is hitting a .364, to go along with 11 homers and 37 RBI's will be the first-team pick however, with Troy's Katie Webb (.341-5-37) a likely second-team pick.
First base, like catcher is a deep position, so that will be another tough position to make the team at.
Again, it's possible that Comeaux and/or Kourtney Gremillion make it as a utility player however.
If they do, they would be viable choices.
Outfield is another deep spot, with the likes of Coastal Carolina's Courtney Dean, ULM's Sydney McKay, and UTA's Laura Curry, among others, all having good seasons.
Freshman pitcher Casey Dixon has 9 wins, to go along with a 2.62 ERA., which ranks in the top ten, but again, I'm afraid there are just too many ahead of her.
So, I'm hoping for more, but I see three Cajuns; Ellyson, Dalton, and Kara Gremillion on the All-Sun Belt Conference Team.
That is subject to change however, depending on the number of utility players named.
While individual awards are nice, what matters most is team success, and the reason why this team won 36 games and will be playing in an NCAA Regional this year is because a number of players contributed, both on and off the field.