Katie Brignac named Gatorade Lousiana softball player of the year _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- John Curtis' Katie Brignac pitches against Jena during the Class 3A final.

John Curtis pitcher Katie Brignac got the text message from big sister Ashley on Thursday morning.

That was the perfect person to deliver the news to Brignac that she was named Gatorade Louisiana Softball Player of the Year. Ashley Brignac won the honor twice (2006-07).

“It’s a great honor to win it, but it makes it that much greater since my sister won it too,” said Katie Brignac.

Brignac, who was named The New Orleans Advocate’s Female Athlete of the Year, finished her senior season 23-2, striking out 290 batters to go with her 0.18 ERA. She helped lead Curtis to its third consecutive state championship, this one in Class 3A after back-to-back 2A titles as a sophomore and a junior. She batted .544 with six home runs, 41 RBIs and an .823 slugging percentage.

In her career, she compiled a 93-9 record and had 932 strikeouts and a 0.20 ERA with a .420 batting average.

“Katie was dominating because of her velocity and the control of her rise ball,” said Ashlee Ducote, coach at Parkview Baptist. “She’s been their leader for the last four years and a huge reason why they have been so successful.”

Brignac said she never focused on winning the honor, although she remembers being an 11-year old and her sister winning it.

“People always asked me if I was going to win it, but I didn’t think much about that,” Brignac said.

Brignac, a Memphis signee, did just fine following the giant footsteps left behind by her sister.

Ashley Brignac compiled a 122-4 record and was on four state championship teams, three as starting pitcher. She went 25-0 her senior season with a 0.00 ERA, allowing just 14 hits in 150.2 innings. She also threw 21 no-hitters, including seven perfect games before going on to play at Louisiana-Lafayette.

“As people, we were different but as players we are sort of the same,” said Katie Brignac. “I rely more on my spin and movement, while she could just throw it by batters.”

The Gatorade award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.

She has maintained a 3.29 grade-point-average in the classroom. A member of her school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, she has volunteered locally as part of a literacy-outreach program and as a youth softball coach.

Brignac is now a finalist for Gatorade’s National Player of the Year, which will be announced later in June. Her sister won that honor in 2007.