Teague doing her pitching on the mound now

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / August 5, 1998

RESERVE – Tanya Teague has pitched against some of the best high school players in the state in helping lead the Riverside Lady Rebels to three straight appearances in the state softball tournament.

This week, she will get an opportunity to face some of the best players on the national level as she travels with the Cajun Stars to Virginia to play in the YSSSA Fast-Pitch Softball World Championships. But a few shortyears ago Teague was doing a different form of pitching.

Teague modeled in New York and appeared in 15 national commercials as well as the cover of Ladies Home Journal. She also appeared in the Searsand J.C. Penney catalogs and was in a film made in New Orleans.Teague got started in sports in middle school when her friends started trying out for the volleyball and softball teams and she told her dad that she wanted to try out as well. That summer Teague played for theLongview recreation team. She could throw strikes but was just startingto learn how to pitch.

To learn more about pitching, Teague went to John Bentivegna, the softball coach at Lutcher High School. She also started practicing with her dad andattended an LSU camp for pitchers.

The hard work paid off her freshman year with the Lady Rebels. Teaguewent 8-5 with 35 strikeouts and came back from a midseason injury to lead Riverside to the state playoffs for the first time in eight years, defeating rival St. Charles Catholic in the regional playoffs. The LadyRebels would defeat Teurlings in the quarterfinals before losing in the semifinals. For helping bring the team together that season, Teague wasselected as the St. John Parish MVP.Teague came back her sophomore season to once more lead the Lady Rebels to the state playoffs where they lost to Buckeye in the quarterfinals.

Teague once more made the All-River Parish team, going 18-5 with a 1.03earned run average.

Heading into her junior year, Teague knew the Lady Rebels could go deep in the playoffs when at the beginning of the season, Riverside was playing schools from Class 5A and 4A and holding its own.

“I thought we would be good,” Teague said. “We could hold with the biggirls and if we could keep our intensity up, we would do good.”The tough schedule helped the Lady Rebels when it came time for district play. Led by Teague, Riverside would win the district title with a 10-0record, the first time the Lady Rebels would go undefeated in district.

Teague led the Lady Rebels through the state playoffs, striking out 14 Christian Life batters in bi-district and holding DeQuincy to three hits in the semifinals.

That victory sent the Lady Rebels into their first championship game against arch-rival St. Charles Catholic. Teague pitched shutout ball for thefirst six innings before a two-run rally in the seventh gave the Lady Comets the state championship.

Teague said the loss her more coming against Riverside’s rival but also gave St. Charles Catholic credit while noting that three River Parishesteams (along with Lutcher) made it to state championship games.

“They beat us when it counted,” Teague said.

Teague was named the District 9-2A MVP and made her third straight All- River Parishes team with a 24-7 record, a .46 ERA and 170 strikeouts in139 innings. Included in her record was a victory over Lutcher and herformer pitching coach, Bentivegna.

“It was really exciting,” Teague, a native of Grand Pointe, said of the victory. “It is not really a rivalry between the schools but I grew up withmost of them so it was exciting to beat them.”Teague has stayed busy this summer, pitching for Riverside’s Metro League team as well as the Lady Pride, an all-star team in Lutcher, and Longview’s recreation team. She was then selected to play for the CajunStars, pitching 10 innings in the semifinals of a tournament in Baton Rouge which the Cajun Stars won. Teague leaves with the team Wednesdayfor the World Championships held at Chesterfield University near Richmond.

Teague is also getting prepared for the volleyball season which begins at the end of the month. Teague is a backrow player and digger for the LadyRebels who advanced to the state tournament for the first time last season.

Teague is also working on another pitch for her senior year and would like to add more speed to her fastball. She is not an overpowering pitcher butas exceptional control and determination on the mound. That determinationcan be seen on her face when she is pitching through a jam.

“I have a lot of confidence in my defense,” Teague said of what she is thinking when she is on the mound and there are runners on base. “It tookpressure off me knowing I had a pretty good defense.”Teague said she is looking forward to her senior year. And even though theLady Rebels return only two starters at their same position next season – herself and catcher Katie Brady – her goal for her senior year can be summed up in a few words “A State championship,” Teague said.

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