By Robin Fambrough // Written for the LSWA
There is pressure when a star player returns for a senior season. A simple approach kept Addison Jackson from being overwhelmed by it.
“I told A.J, she did not have to be better than she was last year,” St. Amant coach Amy Pitre said. “She needed to be the best she could be each day. That was all we needed.”
The Gators got that and more. Jackson was the state’s most prolific power hitter with 27 home runs and was 32-2 on the mound while leading her team to a LHSAA Division I nonselect title. And now the Boston College signee is the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/Miss Softball winner as selected by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Jackson is the third St. Amant player to win the Miss Softball honor, joining Leah Heintze in 2004 and Kellie Eubanks in 2005.
“This is amazing. I know (Corine) Poncho (former Notre Dame star) won it last year and I knew what a big honor it was,” Jackson said. “I remember in the back of my mind thinking, ‘Winning that would be so cool.’ But I did not expect to do it.”
St. Amant’s opponents certainly knew, based on Jackson’s dual-threat skills. She struck out 288 batters and had an earned run average of 0.93. Jackson did more than just hit home runs. She batted .521 with 75 runs batted in and was patient enough to accept more than 40 walks.
Jackson’s numbers speak volumes. But there is a backstory few knew until the season ended.
Prior to the season, doctors found a labrum tear in one of Jackson’s hips. So, while managing expectations, Jackson also had to gauge her pain and adjust her game as needed.
“We have a great athletic trainer in Scott Arceneaux. He told us, and so did all the doctors, including Dr. (Carey) Winder that it would come down to how much pain she could tolerate,” Pitre said. “Addison is not the fastest pitcher out there. We face pitchers who throw harder than her.
“But the thing is … she is so smart. Because of her hip, she had to rely on our defense more and the defense came through. Other than that, I am not sure people saw a difference. She gave it everything she had every day.”
Once the season ended, Jackson started a physical therapy regimen that she hopes will eliminate the need for surgery.
“There were times with it (hip) did bother me,” Jackson said. “But I was not going to let that stop me.”
La. Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA 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 canceled
2021: Maci Bergeron, Notre Dame
2022: Corine Poncho, Notre Dame
2023: Addison Jackson, St. Amant