SHREVEPORT, La. – The Ladies Softball team, who qualified for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference for the fourth straight season last weekend, looks to extend its three game winning streak when it hosts Texas Lutheran for senior day Friday afternoon, April 19.
"The 10 members of this year's senior class has been a part of tremendous improvement in the softball program in the last four years," said head coach Mark Suire. "Their hard work and dedication to the program's mission has positively impacted the softball program and laid a solid foundation for the future. The Centenary coaching staff would like to thank the senior class for their leadership and dedication to a cause greater than themselves.
"We wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors and hope that you will cherish the memories you've created as members of the Centenary Softball program," Suire added.
Senior Celebration, Part 1 (Article 2)
Due to such a large number of graduating seniors, the class will be divided into two separate articles. Article one will look at senior Nichole Aldridge, Lauren Beadle, Sydney Hurley, Payton LeBlanc, and Mackenzie Stewart.
Note: All records are for the Ladies Softball NCAA Division III era only (2012-present)
Nichole Aldridge finishes her Ladies Softball career as the winningest pitcher in the circle with 34 wins. She also holds the record for career strikeouts (251), saves (six) and is second with a 3.26 career ERA. A three-time All-Conference selection, Aldridge was named Second Team All-Conference following her sophomore season, when she finished fifth in the SCAC in both wins (nine) and ERA (3.12).
Helping the Ladies finish third at the conference her freshman season, Aldridge was named to the All-Tournament squad. After her first collegiate week of competition, she was named the SCAC Pitcher of the Week.
An accounting major, Aldridge is a member of the Christian Leadership Center at Centenary. Following graduation, she plans to work for an accounting firm in East Texas while studying for her Certified Public Accountant Exam.
According to Aldridge, her favorite memory was Affirmation Week. "That week was by far my favorite memory. When I felt as if I was in a low point in my career, it reminded me that I have a team that loves me and has full faith in me even when I don't have faith in myself. I know they will have my back through everything."
Lauren Beadle, who appeared in the circle each of the first three seasons of her Ladies Softball career, has played an important role for Centenary this season. This year, Beadle has taken on the position as the pitching coach and even calls all pitches for the pitching staff. In fact, the pitching staff's ERA has improved from 5.06 in non-conference play to 2.30 in SCAC play – the lowest ERA in SCAC play in program history by more than a run.
In the circle, Beadle finishes her Ladies career 8-8 with one complete game.
A biology major, Beadle has been named to the Dean's List while at Centenary as well as having been inducted into Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society. This year, she was inducted in to Chi Alpha Sigma, the National Athletic Honor Society.
After graduation, she plans to attend nursing school and become a nurse anesthetist.
"My favorite softball memory is the last game my dad got to see me play," explains Beadle. "It was at Texas Lutheran during the conference tournament my sophomore year. That day will forever be in my heart."
Sydney Hurley transferred to Centenary for the 2018 season and has been a two-year starter for the Ladies behind the plate. Currently, she has 56 hits, 43 RBIs. 23 runs scored, and 11 doubles. Her eight career home runs is third in the career record books at Centenary.
Last weekend at Trinity in the series-clinching win, she broke a tie on a home run that was so deep, it may not have landed yet. Behind the plate, Hurley has thrown out more than a quarter of would-be base stealers.
A communications major, Hurley is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes here at Centenary. Following graduation, Hurley plans to teach and coach softball.
Her favorite memory is last year at Southwestern when coach Mark Suire got thrown out of a close game and was forced to watch the remainder of the game on a hill.
Payton LeBlanc transferred to Centenary for her sophomore season and holds the Centenary career record for stolen bases (47).
However, LeBlanc had an April to remember her in 2018. She went 24-for-50 during the month with 19 runs scored and 12 RBI's, including her first collegiate home run against Dallas. During the 2018 season, she earned Second Team All-Conference recognition after finishing the year third on the team with a .341 batting average. She also earned Second Team All-Conference honors in 2017 after finishing first in the SCAC with 32 stolen bases and 20th in the nation with 0.80 stolen bases per game.
LeBlanc currently holds a .286 batting average with 67 hits. Her .446 on-base percentage is the highest in program history while her 64 runs ranks second.
A psychology major at Centenary, LeBlanc was named to the SCAC Academic Honor's List following the 2017 season. After graduation, she plans to take a gap year to work with children who are typically and atypically developing while she prepares for graduate school.
LeBlanc said her favorite memory is when the entire team sang "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid on the way back from Trinity her sophomore season.
Our final senior we will recognize in part one is Mackenzie Stewart. She has appeared in 42 games in the circle and holds a 2-3 career record with a save. She has one complete game to her credit, an 11-5 win at Rust her freshman season. She also picked up a save in the Ladies 8-6 win at Hendrix her sophomore season.
A biology major, she plans to take a gap year upon graduation from Centenary and will prepare to apply for occupational therapy school. She is involved with Zeta Tau Alpha at Centenary, having served as programming council secretary and membership enrichment director.
Her favorite memory is playing kickball her junior season for the team's final 6 a.m. workout. Ashley Albright was running the bases, and next thing anyone knew, she fell on her way back to second base and her feet ended up by her head. Everyone had to stop for the next few minutes because they were laughing so hard.
In all, 10 seniors will be recognized following the doubleheader Friday afternoon. However, it will not be their final collegiate games in Shreveport. The Ladies host the 2019 SCAC Softball Tournament next weekend, April 26-28. Game times and seeding will be announced following the conclusion of the season.