All-St. John softball: Johnson repeats as Outstanding Player, Monica named top coach

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

RESERVE — After suffering through a disappointing 2016 season, the softball world tilted back on its proper axis this spring.

Riverside Academy and St. Charles Catholic, considered to be among the top programs in the state, missed last year’s State Tournament in Sulphur following stunning upsets.

This year, both teams got back to work and made it happen.

The Riverside Lady Rebels continued to live up to their reputation as an offensive juggernaut.

As a team, the Rebels hit 51 home runs and scored 301 runs on their way to the tournament.

As the No. 2 seed in the Division III bracket (the team elected to play up for the post-season), Riverside advanced to the championship game, where they lost to No. 1 seed Parkview Baptist, 9-1.

Continuing to lead the Lady Rebels’ offensive onslaught was pitcher/infielder/outfielder Lexi Johnson.

While playing every position except catcher at various times, Johnson hit .534 with 55 hits, 60 RBIs, 44 runs scored, 23 doubles and a whopping 16 home runs.

In the circle she was 8-5 with 63 strikeouts in 89 innings pitched.

Now a freshman, Johnson is L’OBSERVATEUR’s Softball Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

St. Charles Catholic coach Ty Monica had his work cut out for him this season.

SCC coach Ty Monica flashes signals during the playoffs against Thomas Jefferson.

After losing six seniors from what could arguably be considered one of his best teams ever, Monica and most softball watchers predicted this would be a rebuilding year for the Lady Comets.

Expectations weren’t high — except, this is St. Charles Catholic.

With a bunch of new starters and a new slogan — “The R Factor” — the Lady Comets responded by going 27-4 and cruising through the District 12-2A schedule.

That included a 3-0 win over Riverside in the rivals’ one meeting.

After earning the No. 4 seed in the Division III bracket, the improbable happened.

First the Comets rolled over Thomas Jefferson, 11-3, to secure their spot in the State Tournament in Sulphur for the 10th time.

There, St. Charles faced No. 5 seed Archbishop Hannan and put together one of the greatest comebacks of the season.

After rallying for three runs in the seventh inning to tie the game at 4-4 and force the game into extra innings, the Comets had two outs in the eighth inning when Brooke St. Pierre hit a hopper to score Jori Bryant and get the team to the semifinals.

Monica said it was one of the most thrilling moments of his career. 

The next day, St. Charles lost to No. 1 seed Calvary Baptist, 11-1.

Monica is L’OBSERVATEUR’S Coach of the Year.

Although disappointed, Riverside coach Tamra Regalo best summed up the season when she addressed her team after its runner-up finish:

“I told them, ‘We didn’t get the icing on top of the cake, but we got the cake,’” she said.