John L. Ory softball team earns championship

Published 12:03 am Saturday, April 28, 2018

LAPLACE — Guided by seamless teamwork and a focus on academics, the John L. Ory middle school softball girls battled their way to a second consecutive championship title.

The Lady Eagles took the title with a 17-2 win against East St. John Prep in three innings last week, closing the season with an overall 19-1 record.

Head coach Chad Smith said the team’s limited practice time was compensated by the work the girls put in outside of school, sharpening their skillsets with travel ball.

On-field chemistry was a strongpoint for the team, Smith said.

“Our team is more than a softball team,” Smith said. “When we’re out there creating memories, we’re more like a family. I’m most proud of their sportsmanship, dedication to the program and academic success.”

Success in the classroom trickles down to success on the softball field, according to Smith.

The girls proved talented in both departments. All 12 team members maintained at least a 2.5 GPA, and eight achieved a 3.5 or higher.

Smith said co-MVP eighth graders Tr’Nahja Smith and Adison Cooper led in the classroom and on the softball field.

“They’re both 4.0 students, and they’re the heart and soul of the team,” Smith said.

While Adison played shortstop, third base and outfield, Tr’Nahja stood as a solid utility player and pitched three no-hitters.

Both girls are lifelong softball players on travel ball teams, meaning the game doesn’t end as spring rolls into summer.

“I love our team, and I love the sport and the togetherness,” Adison said. “It was the teamwork that made us fit together. We love the game more than we needed to win.”

Tr’Nahja said communication on the field sets the Lady Eagles apart from other teams.

The John L. Ory softball team has been a frontrunner for years, but seventh grader Sophia Gil said this season was the best for players coming together in unity.

Smith said Sophia stepped up to play catcher when no one else proved consistent enough to cover the position. Along the way, she developed into the “golden glove kid” of the team.

Catching and pitching were top notch, Smith said, adding pitchers only gave up seven hits in 19 games.

Fourth grader Bayleijh Loupe threw four no-hitters when she wasn’t manning second base.

She and fellow fourth grader Aliyah Manson are avid travel ball players who performed well at the plate with .325 averages. Smith said Bayleijh and Aliyah were timid at the season’s start, only coming out of their shells when they realized their competitive strengths.

“Once they started buying into the program, they played hard, they played aggressive and they played smart,” Smith said.