Senior third baseman Cassidy Brady signed a national letter of intent to continue her softball career at Bossier Parish Community College in the presence of her parents, grandparents, Sterlington High teammates and coaches during a brief ceremony in the SHS library Tuesday morning.
Brady can play either corner infield position, but it's her bat that attracts — make that demands — attention.
“I've never seen the ball come off the bat like it does with Cassidy,” said Jack Goode, Sterlington's first-year coach. “It's scary pitching to her in practice.”
“The first time I saw Cassidy in the batting cage, I knew she could be something special,” said Boyd Cole, who recently retired after 17 years as the Lady Panthers' softball coach. “She generates a lot of bat speed.”
Brady put together a monster season as a junior, batting .595 (.800, yes .800, in District 2-2A play) with six home runs and 45 RBIs in helping the Lady Panthers to a 25-3 record and a state quarterfinal appearance. She was named first-team All-State and shared the District MVP award with teammate Sarah Gandy.
For Brady, Tuesday marked the fulfillment of a long-time goal.
“I've been wanting to play college ball since my sixth grade year,” said Brady, who played summer travel ball for the Fury and Rippers.
Transferring from Ouachita to Sterlington as a sophomore, Brady was penciled into the lineup as the designated player. Earning honorable mention All-State accolades, she put together a .414 batting average with five homers and 28 RBI.
Brady said BPCC coach Ashley Grisham extended the scholarship offer following a fall tryout.
“Coach Grisham saw me play in a tournament in Shreveport over the summer and asked me to come to a tryout with four other girls,” Brady said. “She offered me a scholarship the day I tried out, but I took a little time to decide. It's a relief to sign because if I have an off year, I have something to fall back on and still have time to improve over the summer.”
Brady, a 3.0 student who plans to go into physical therapy, says she likes what BPCC has to offer academically as well as athletically.
“I like the way coach Grisham is so open and tells you what she thinks,” Brady said. “I liked everything I saw — the field, the school and the girls on the team.”
Goode is quite familiar with the BPCC program. Besides being a former pitcher for the Cavaliers' baseball team, two of his former West Ouachita players (Hannah LaBorde and Ashley Frost) played for BPCC.
“It's a good program. I had fun playing there,” said Goode, who played his high school ball at Riverfield Academy in Rayville. “There are a lot of similarities in going from a Double-A school to a junior college. It's an easy transition.”
Page 2 of 2 - Goode says junior colleges offer athletes a chance to gain valuable experience prior to singing with a four-year school.
“The good thing about junior college is you're not restricted to how many games you can play in the falll,” Goode said. “By the time you come out of a junior college program, it's about the same as playing at a four-year college.”
While Brady's offensive skills overshadow her defense, Cole says she works on all aspects of her game.
“She's a little hard-headed, but she's willing to do the work and practice the little things,” Cole said.
“Third base is not an easy position to play in softball because sometimes you have to play up so close. It's easy to be afraid of the ball. She started staying after practice last year and became more comfortable playing third base.”
Cole says Brady has benefited from having supportive parents.
“If Cassidy needs anything for softball, they make sure she has it,” Cole said. “Carl and Monica Brady have been good friends and will continue to be good friends of mine.”
Cole is confident that Brady will be successful at the next level.
“I'm excited for her,” Cole said. “I think she'll be a good college player.”