Sterlington’s Maddie Taylor named 2024 LSWA Miss Softball

by: Jake Martin // Written for the LSWA 

Brian West would never admit it, but a big reason why he took the Sterlington job was to have the opportunity to coach Maddie Taylor.

Not simply because she’s proven to be a dominant pitcher inside the circle over the last three years while also carrying a heavy bat at the plate.

No, deep down he wanted a chance for his freshman daughter to see what it takes to be one of the top players in Louisiana.

Taylor’s preparation ahead of a season where she went 19-1 with a 0.96 ERA and 146 strikeouts with 17 walks in 101.2 innings pitched all the while leading the team with a .463 batting average with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs laid out the blueprint for the Sterlington team.

“You can’t ask for a better kid,” West said. “The selflessness that she has, and the talent that she has on top of that. That’s exactly who you want your kids and other teammates to be around. She met and exceeded expectations. She was better than advertised.”

The Louisiana Sports Writers Association concurred by naming the McNeese signee as the 2024 Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/Miss Softball. Taylor is the second Sterlington player to earn the distinction of Miss Softball, as Britni Bowen accomplished the feat back in 2003. Taylor is also just the third player to win the honor from Ouachita Parish with Abby Allen representing the Lady Lions in 2018.

Like Bowen, Taylor played her part in helping Sterlington claim a state championship, its first since 2003.

“It took us a second to really understand how good we actually were,” Taylor said. “I don’t think we realized how much we had grown this past summer and past year. We never went out on the field and thought we were just better than everybody. But deep down I knew the (state championship victory) was going to happen.”

In her journey to break through and overcome two straight empty state tournament trips, Taylor had a season of a lifetime.

From tossing a perfect game against LaSalle to hitting multiple home runs in a victory against the reigning champs North DeSoto to drawing the bases-loaded walk-off base on balls in the state championship victory against Doyle, Taylor did everything within her power to capture that elusive state championship.

“All year it was about finishing the mission,” Taylor said. “I don’t think we ever went out and played for ourselves. Nobody was in it for the spotlight.

“We all wanted to give the glory to God in every situation and every game we played all year long.” 

The three-time LSWA All-State player donned the “C” on her jersey to signal that she was the team captain. West said that honor will not be bestowed upon a Sterlington player every single season to signify how exceptional that merit is. It’ll take an extraordinary player to wear it. 

“She led by example,” West said. “This is the same approach as the Yankees.”

With plans to pitch and hit for McNeese softball in the future, Taylor leaves Sterlington as one of the most decorated players in program history.

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

2024: Maddie Taylor, Sterlington