In a season when the Live Oak softball team crossed what was expected to be a tricky bridge of transition with flying colors, nobody typified the Lady Eagles’ personality more than senior third baseman Giselle Ash.
Gritty, hard-working, never out of a game.
So the fact that Ash put a fitting bow on her prep career at the Louisiana Softball Coaches Association All-Star Games shouldn’t really surprise anybody.
Ash was 0-for-2 on the first day of the two-game event but bounced back with a flourish, going 3-for-4, delivering a two-run single, triple and home run in her final high school at-bat for the East team last Saturday at Louisiana College.
“It was emotionally boosting because you push yourself to be as good as the best of the best,” Ash said Sunday. “It was nice be appreciated for all my hard work and then to go out and play like that was really special. It will be a great memory.”
Plenty of those for Ash and Live Oak this spring.
Despite losing a core group of seniors from a 2016 Class 5A state semifinalist team, the Lady Eagles found themselves right back at that point this year after an upset road win at Ruston in the regional round and a stunning 6-4 decision against No. 3 seed St. Amant in Sulphur in the state quarterfinals.
Ash was a leader for the Lady Eagles all season, batting a robust .476 with 3 home runs, 17 RBIs and .557 slugging percentage on the way to earning All-District 4-5A honors for the fourth straight season.
“It was a great thrill because no one thought we would make it where we were,” Ash said. “We came together during the season and showed we could make the impossible happen.”
Live Oak’s amazing run ended the next day with a 20-10 loss to Ouachita Parish, but the memories of a lifetime were already cemented.
Afterward, Ash gave her younger teammates – a core group expected to keep the Lady Eagles in the elite the next few years – a poignant message.
“I remember the last thing I told them was that when someone looks at you and says ‘You can’t do it,’ be motivated to prove them wrong and work as hard as you need to make that happen,” Ash said.
The next step for Ash is to be determined.
She said she wants to find a school that fits her academically as she pursues an accounting degree. If softball also works out, she is ready for that.
And her performance in Pineville last weekend could yield some unexpected opportunities.
“There were a lot of coaches there and I heard from some that I hadn’t heard from before,” Ash said. “I’d love to keep playing if it fits with what I am looking for academically.”