Speed is the thing that helps Bailey Landry stand out.
It typically takes the East Ascension senior between 2.5 and 2.7 seconds to get from home plate to first base.
But there is more to the LSU signee than speed. Landry and the Spartans are looking to prove that point as the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s softball playoffs begin this week.
”Speed is a natural thing,” Landry said. “You can’t teach it. It’s awesome that I was blessed with it and can use it. From year to year, you make different adjustments.
“We’ve improved as a team tremendously since day one. We’ve had a bunch of different things thrown at us this year and handled them. I think we’re ready.”
EAHS (19-8), seeded eighth, hosts No. 25 Sulphur (13-10) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Class 5A bidistrict action. The Spartans would need to win two games to advance to the LHSAA State Tournament April 26-27 in Sulphur.
It would be the fourth straight tourney berth for EAHS and the fifth for Landry, who played in Class 1A title game as an eighth-grader at Ascension Catholic.
“This group has made it to the state tournament every year,” East Ascension coach Amy Pitre said. “That’s good motivation.”
In Landry, the Spartans have an awfully good catalyst. The 5-foot-9 centerfielder bats leadoff and is hitting .537 with a .988 slugging percentage. She has seven doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 28 runs batted in. Landry has struck out only three times in over 100 at-bats.
“Speed alone is enough to kill another team,” Pitre said. “She’s always had the bunt and the slap, and now she can swing away for power.
“Her senior year, she’s come in with the whole package. With her speed, she can cover a lot of ground on defense.”
When Landry was growing up, there was little doubt that she wind up playing softball, even though she tried a variety of sports. Her older sister, Courtney, was a pitcher at Dutchtown High. And her father, Darrell, was her coach at Ascension Catholic and is now her travel coach for the Louisiana Patriots program.
There was also little doubt that Landry, who committed to LSU as a junior, would pick the Tigers even though she had offers from Arkansas and Louisiana-Lafayette.
LSU has always been my dream school,” Landry said. “I considered the other schools because I wanted to keep my options open, but I just couldn’t see going anywhere else.
“My family grew up LSU. They’ve had tickets to football games since before I was born. We always went to softball games and camps, too.”
Landry is just as well -ounded off the field as she is on it. She is senior class president, carries a 3.5 grade point average and was part of East Ascension’s prom and homecoming courts.
With fellow seniors Kendall Burgess, Brooke Delaune and Kyleigh Leblanc, Landry helps form a good nucleus for the Spartans, who are one five Baton Rouge-area teams seeded among the top eight in Class 5A.
Pitre noted Landry’s work ethic, along with that of the other seniors.
“She’s always working to perfect everything,” Pitre said of Landry.
But as Landry notes, the work is not over yet.
“There are four seniors, and we all came in together,” Landry said. “The competition in our district and in this area has helped prepare us. We’re working hard for this.”