By Spencer Urquhart // Written for the LSWA
After bursting onto the scene as a freshman in 2019, Notre Dame softball star Maci Bergeron was ready after the 2020 season was cut short due to the pandemic, and she set the bar even higher as a junior this year.
Bergeron, who’s been verbally committed to LSU since her freshman year, was the driving force behind Notre Dame (29-5) breaking the national single season home run record for high school softball, as she hit 30 of the team’s 96 home runs en route to their third straight state championship.
Bergeron’s performance led to her winning the 2021 Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Miss Softball award, which goes to the top softball player in the state, and she certainly warranted that honor considering she also stepped up as a pitcher on top of her excellent hitting.
Bergeron finished with a .571 batting average, a team high 30 home runs, 78 RBIs and only four strikeouts as well as a 6-0 record in the circle in 36.1 innings with a 0.38 ERA and 47 strikeouts.
“She (Bergeron) is a special kid, a special person,” Lady Pios coach Dale Serie said. “I’ve gotten to see her a little more on the softball field, and it’s no secret why she’s so successful. She works extremely hard at her craft and is very coachable. I love when good things happen to good people, and she’s definitely deserving of this award. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Bergeron’s success as a hitter has been on display from a young age with her dad by her side as her hitting coach, and she continues to set her goals higher each season.
“I work hard,” Bergeron said. “Just really practicing a lot and playing as a team, I enjoy playing with my friends. My dad is my hitting coach, so I credit him a lot with my performance and practice a lot throughout the week and put in a lot of work. It (home run record) was very exciting, but we couldn’t have done it without everyone else contributing.”
Pitching wasn’t even on Bergeron’s mind heading into this season, but she stepped up when her team needed help in the circle and ended up pitching in the state championship game.
“I really didn’t want to pitch, but I kind of had to,” Bergeron said. “I don’t like losing, so I kind of just did what I had to do. I pitched in 10U and stopped, but then I threw a little my sophomore year and then this year.”
“I challenged anyone we had with a pitching background for the well-being of our team,” Serie siad. “She (Bergeron) then started taking the bull by the horns and wanting the ball.”
Bergeron has always been mature beyond her years ever since stepping onto the field as a freshman, and she’ll have the opportunity to become the nation’s all-time home run leader in her senior season.
“Since her freshman year, she (Bergeron) wasn’t playing like a freshman,” Serie said. “She’s always carried herself in that manner, and that has a lot to do with her maturity. She has the opportunity to become the national home run leader. She’s sixth right now and would’ve had more in 2020. She had 15 home runs in 14 games before COVID.”
“Just setting bigger goals every year to try and reach them,” Bergeron said. “I try to play 100 percent every time and don’t take anything for granted because any game could be my last.”
Miss Softball winners
1996: Ashley Lewis, Central
1997: Ashleigh Ivey, Barbe-Lake Charles
1998: Micah Barbato, Lafayette
1999: Mandy Mullins, Sacred Heart-Ville Platte
2000: Sarah Meadors, Denham Springs
2001: Beth Provost, Teurlings Catholic
2002: Beth Provost, Teurlings Catholic
2003: Britni Bowen, Sterlington
2004: Leah Heintze, St. Amant
2005: Kellie Eubanks, St. Amant
2006: Ashley Brignac, John Curtis
2007: Ashley Brignac, John Curtis
2008: Lauren Crane, Vandebilt Catholic
2009: Lauren Wilson, Belle Chasse
2010: Christina Hamilton, Rosepine
2011: Courtney Ivey, Oak Hill
2012: Baylee Corbello, Sam Houston
2013: Baylee Corbello, Sam Houston
2014: Katie Brignac, John Curtis
2015: Tanner Wright, Sam Houston
2016: Bailey Hemphill, St. Thomas More
2017: Emma Callie Delafield, North DeSoto
2018: Abby Allen, Ouachita Parish
2019: Mary-Cathryn Comeaux, Brusly
2020: season cancelled
2021: Maci Bergeron, Notre Dame