While the LSU softball team has been to the Women’s College World Series in four of its last six seasons, there is still room to improve.
The team’s last WCWS appearance ended in a 4-1 loss to Oregon in the second round and the only run of that day came on a homerun by junior infielder Shemiah Sanchez.
Former catcher and All-American Sahvanna Jaquish is now a student coach for her team. The four-time All-American was third on her team in batting average with .331 and hits with 59 and led the team in slugging percentage with .556.
LSU coach Beth Torina describes Jaquish and former outfielder Bailey Landry as “irreplaceable” to the team but knows that there are other talented players that can step up and be leaders of their own.
“You have to reinvent yourself and be different,” Torina said. “It might take three, four, five of us to fill those gaps, but we’re going to find a way to fill them.”
The catcher position is a wide-open competition between senior Sydney Loupe, junior Michaela Schlattman, sophomore Sydney Springfield and freshman Cristiona Caccamise.
While Torina continues to fill those gaps, she looks to the transfers to make big impacts for when the season rolls around.
“[Jaquish and Bianka Bell] became names in their four-year career — these kids will be the next group of names,” Torina said.
Even senior outfielder Emily Griggs is looking to reinvent herself once again.
Griggs is one of the five seniors on the roster, including Loupe, pitchers Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper and utility player Sydney Bourg.
There are various distinct leadership traits between the seniors. For example, Griggs describes Hoover as a leader with big body action and a cheerleader for the team. Walljasper is described as a more collected leader by settling the players in.
Griggs commends Hoover for overcoming her adversity recovering from knee surgery after last season and is confident that she’ll enter this season stronger than ever.
“Adversity doesn’t phase her one bit,” Griggs said. “I doubt that [Hoover] took one day off this break, so I know that she was doing exactly what she needed to do to be ready for practice.”
Griggs stepped up her approach by using her different skill sets. For instance, she became more comfortable in the box by standing away and not slapping.
It worked to her advantage. Last season, Griggs recorded a .317 overall batting average and scored 43.
Griggs’ 27 RBIs from last season were also her career high.
Griggs admitted that it wasn’t an easy process, but she thanked the coaching staff for sitting her down and helping her use those skill sets.
“Whatever they need me to do to get us to the World Series, that’s what I’m going to do,” Griggs said.
In terms of reinventing oneself, Griggs focuses on doing things differently and incorporating more small ball, like bunting and stealing more bases.
“I think you have to take the approach that every team is going to be different,” Griggs said.
“Every team is going to have its strengths and weaknesses.”