LIVINGSTON – The goal is for the Doyle softball team to make another trip to Sulphur to defend its Class 2A state title, but the Lady Tigers’ Gabby Lucia has a little something she’d like to accomplish along the way.
“I want to hit a dinger,” the 4-foot-11 Lucia said after signing to play softball at LSU Alexandria in the school library on Tuesday. “I really hope it happens.”
Lucia’s signing was the culmination of time put in by LSUA co-coaches Adam and Annalyn Burch, whom Lucia first met while attending a camp with her travel ball team two summers ago.
“He did a controlled practice with my softball team, and he just liked what I had, so he pulled me aside, and it just took off from there,” said Lucia, who plans to major in accounting and was a second-team all-district infielder last season.
The Generals clinched a share of the Red River Athletic Conference regular season title last before losing to Texas A&M-Texarkana in the RRAC Tournament semifinals.
“I really like their program,” Lucia said. “They have a nice thing going, and I love their team. They work well together, and they have a beautiful campus. I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
Another part of the allure for Lucia was the Burch’s coaching style and the team’s demeanor, which she said is similar to that of Doyle’s approach under coach Amanda Decell.
“I like how they know when to be serious and when to goof around and laugh, because I’m very used to that kind of environment,” Lucia said. “I love how they speak to their individual players on what they’re doing wrong in a very respectful way. They don’t yell at you. They talk to you like a human being and care about your well-being.”
Lucia, who scored the game-winning run in the Lady Tigers’ 3-2 title win over Mangham last season, said the LSUA coaches haven’t told her what position she’ll play or what role she might take on.
“They said that I can be useful for many things,” Lucia said. “They weren’t specific. I just want to play. I doesn’t matter. I’ll do my part however I can. I’ll do a job if they ask me to.”
Decell, who played at LSUA, said Lucia’s versatility will help her in her transition to the college game.
“She can help them really anywhere,” Decell said. “She can play outfield. She can play second base, shortstop. She’s got a lot of speed, and that’s a big advantage, especially in college.
“(Size) doesn’t matter. She’s got the speed. She’s got the strength. She proves it every day on the field that size doesn’t matter. She can play just as good as everybody else, if not better.”
Decell said Lucia’s signing is the result of a goal she set for herself years ago.
“I’ve had her since seventh grade, and she’s always talked about college ball, and a few of the other girls have always talked about that, so it’s great to see her be able to do this,” Decell said. “I know this is something she really wants to do. I’m happy for her.”
Decell also said that home run Lucia is looking for isn’t out of the question.
“She can do it,” Decell said. “She can do anything she wants to do. I’m pretty pumped for her.”
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