Baton Rouge area has big haul on Class 5A all-state softball team with nine selections; two baseball players named all-state _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Zachary starting pitcher Baylie Doiron (15), warms up in the third inning of Zachary's 5-0 win over Natchitoches Central Monday in a Class 5-A playoff game.

For the majority of her softball career, Baylie Doiron thought of herself as a hitter. Pitcher was just the position she played.

That all changed the past three years in a big way. Proof comes in this form — Zachary’s Doiron is one of the pitchers for the East team going into the LHSCA all-star games set for Friday and Saturday at Louisiana College in Pineville. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday.

“I’ve never seen the all-star games, but I know a couple of people who played in them and I’m looking forward to it,” Doiron said. “Being on the same field with the best players in Louisiana. … That’s exciting for me.

“I’m going in there with the idea that I’ll have a chance to see a lot and learn a lot. It’s a great opportunity.”

Doiron helped Zachary advance to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Fastpitch 56 State tournament as a junior. The second-seeded Broncos were the Class 5A runner-up last month.

Numbers aren’t the only way to evaluate a pitcher. But if it’s numbers you’re looking for, Doiron has them.

It starts with a 26-6 record in her senior season. Doiron struck out 328 and had a 1.73 earned run average. Opposing hitters managed a .189 batting average. The Spring Hill College signee also hit .379 as a leadoff hitter with seven home runs and 24 RBIs.

“My dad taught me how to pitch,” Doiron said. “I took pitching lessons but never really anything consistent. I didn’t have a regular pitching coach until I came to Zachary.”

Zachary coach Leslie Efferson-Yellott pitched Baker to a title game in the 1990s and also pitched for Nicholls State. Her process with Doiron was a gradual one.

“We started out with the basics when she was a freshman,” Efferson-Yellott said. “We started with the change-up. Then the summer between her freshman and sophomore year we worked on spin and the rise ball. The key for pitches like that is how you spin the ball, and it’s not easy to learn, but Baylie worked at it. And now she can throw just about anything.”

Efferson-Yellott said the trust between a pitcher and coach is a key point and that the trust, along with learning new pitches and techniques, takes time. Once Doiron started having success with the new pitches she learned, the trust grew. Doiron’s confidence in her skills as a pitcher also developed.

“I think the biggest difference between my junior and senior year is my confidence,” Doiron said. “Making it to the state tournament my junior year was big for us as a team. I knew I understood more about how to pitch. I’m still learning.”

Efferson-Yellott said Doiron’s confidence continued to grow through the summer and fall of 2015, when she took on a lead role with travel teams. However, the Broncos got off to a slow start. Doiron said about 10 games into the season things “clicked.”

“I’m not even sure who we were playing when it happened, but there was a game where we saw our potential and understood what we needed to do,” Doiron said. “That was what we needed.”

Doiron originally committed to LSU-Eunice and then opted to sign with Spring Hill in the spring. She’ll look to succeed another local pitcher, former St. Joseph’s Academy standout Caroline Sagrera, with the Badgers.

But the LHSCA games come first.

“I can’t wait to get up there (to Pineville) and get started,” Doiron said.