Multiple Vernon Parish athletes put together successful seasons with standouts all over the field.
Leesville pitcher Madelyn Phillips had a season for the ages in her senior year, making her the Leesville Daily Leader's Vernon Parish Player of the Year.
Phillips went 20-2 with a 1.37 ERA and 162 strikeouts. She says having girls behind her helped her with confidence in the circle.
"I just knew I had to trust the girls around me," she said. "No matter what, if they hit it, they were going to get it. If it wasn't catchable, I had to trust them in the box, too. It was just trust, for me."
The Lady Cats earned the No. 1 seed in Class 4A heading into the LHSAA playoffs, but were upset in the second round by Tioga.
"Being No. 1 was always the goal," she said. "It didn't end the way we wanted it to, and we didn't get that trophy at the end, but reaching that goal, I never thought in a million years that we'd reach that goal. It wasn't because I thought we weren't good enough. I just never imagined it. When we did get there, it was hard for me, personally, because I always strived to be No. 1. Once we got there early in the year, I though 'what am I going to look forward to now?'
"That target it big when you're in the top five. It's a lot bigger when you're in that No. 1 spot."
Phillips dealt with a lot of loss in the last year but put that aside once she stepped in the circle after getting advice from a close family member.
"I went through a rough year," she said. "I lost some very important people and some very supportive people in my life. What got me through it was my people like my Aunt Kim, the Prichard Family and my family. Softball was very therapeutic for me. My Aunt Kim and I worked worked on compartmentalizing it. Not just losing two people, but personal things. We worked on making sure that if something is going on in my life, put it into softball until I have time to work on it."
Leesville had multiple All-District picks, and the lineup was loaded from top to bottom.
"At the beginning of the year, our offense struggled," Phillips said. "Our defense was never a problem. It was about scoring runs and scoring all the time. Coach (Jessica) Cobb had a huge impact on our team. She just gave us that confidence that whoever was throwing, we were going to hit."
While her time at Leesville High School is done, Phillips says it's not the strikeouts and wins that she is going to remember when she looks back on her time in a Lady Cats uniform.
"I had a long talk after our loss to Tioga with my Aunt Kim," she said. "I was bawling my eyes because I thought life was over. She said something that really put it all into perspective. She said 'one game, one pitch at a time. You're not done. They're not done. You'll always be a part of that team.'
"I'm going to remember the people more than anything. Not the things or awards or any of the accolades. It's going to be the people and memories that I made here that make a lasting impact on me."
LEESVILLE DAILY LEADER
ALL-VERNON PARISH TEAM
Player of the Year – Madelyn Phillips, Leesville
Coach of the Year – Glenn Granger, Rosepine
Madelyn Phillips, Leesville
Chloe Bennett, Rosepine
ShaeLa Lawrence, Pickering
Jewel Sharbeno, Evans
Mackenzie Waldrop, Leesville
Ryen Lawrence, Pickering
Bella Houck, Leesville
Spring Atkins, Pickering
Ryleigh Hicks, Leesville
Carlie Randle, Rosepine
Ainsleigh Geautreaux, Pitkin
Jenna Marler, Rosepine
Rivers Day, Hicks
Kristi Jeane, Evans
Kendall Collins, Leesville
Shelby Lentz, Pitkin
Billy Brook Payne, Evans
Stephanie Ferris, Pickering