Curtis ace Katie Brignac is Miss Softball
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Katie Brignac has piled up the accolades as a pitcher, but if she talks about them she'll mention her team successes first.
"You see a lot of players that are big-time players, and once their recruiting is over, they say, 'Now, it's all about me,'" said John Curtis Christian softball coach Jerry Godfrey. "Katie is always about the team. She never, ever took a day off. You'd never know she was the top player in the state."
Brignac leaves Curtis with three straight state titles in her four seasons as the team's ace. Her list of accolades continues to grow. Brignac is the winner of the Farm Bureau-Louisiana Sports Writers Association Miss Softball award given to the state's top player.
"It's great to be recognized for my accomplishments, and I'm really happy I won it, but I wouldn't be anywhere without my team," Brignac said. "They have my back."
Brignac had a .511 batting average in 2014 along with a 23-2 record and 290 strikeouts.
Her career numbers at Curtis are even more eye-popping. She finishes with a 93-9 record, 1,032 strikeouts and a 0.20 ERA.
While Brignac followed successful sister, Ashley, into the sport, she was always her own player. Katie and Ashley Brignac combined to win seven state titles at Curtis. Ashley Brignac won the Miss Softball award in 2006 and 2007.
"We're the same because we're sisters, but pitching-wise, coaches tell me I'm stronger and have more movement, but she was faster at my age," said Brignac, who calls Ashley her mentor. "We're two different pitchers."
Said Godfrey: "We made jokes about it when people would call her Ashley. From Day 1, no one ever asked her to be Ashley. She's Katie."
Katie Brignac has been clutch from the start. She played through 34 illegal pitch calls by umpires during the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Softball tournament in Sulphur this season. It was her walk-off single scored the game-winning run in the Class 2A championship game against Riverside last season. Brignac also went 20-0 with 225 strikeouts during Curtis' perfect 32-0 season in 2012.
"She has a willingness to lead without saying a word," Godfrey said. "Her calmness and work ethic is amazing. I don't know if we can ever duplicate that again."
Godfrey's favorite Brignac moment didn't come on a softball field. Katie Brignac rediscovered her faith last summer, and Curtis assistant coach Jarrod Fabacher baptized her for the first time.
"(Fabacher) is a very Godly man, and he just inspired me a lot," Brignac said. "The experience changed how I looked at things. I didn't get down on myself a lot. It was very up-lifting."
Brignac now can't imagine life without a softball in her hand. She'll follow longtime teammate and shortstop Brooke Lee to Memphis.
"I wouldn't have the friends I have today if I didn't play softball," Brignac said. "I don't regret anything. We had a pretty good four years. Even in eighth-grade, we went undefeated."
For Godfrey, this year's state tournament only reaffirmed how special of a player Brignac is.
"(Memphis is) going to get a girl who will do everything right in the classroom," he said. "They're getting a person that will give her all."
That's the same advice Brignac gives for next year's Curtis players.
"Keep working, keep shooting for that goal, but don't single yourself out," Brignac said. "You can't do it alone. It takes everybody to win the state tournament. Once it's over, you're going to want it back, so put everything you have in it."