East coach Nancy Ensminger occupied with logistics, but can’t wait for softball all-star games _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Dutchtown head coach Nancy Ensminger returns to the dugout after speaking to her players between innings against East Ascension during a District 5-5A softball game, March 19 at East Ascension High School in Gonzales. She was recently named as coach for the LHSCA/LSCA All-Star game in May.

Until game time, Dutchtown softball coach Nancy Ensminger will focus on the logistics.

Once the first LHSCA All-Star softball game begins, the East coach said she will relish the chance to see how the high school story ends for group of 42 players from across the state.

“We’ve got several quality pitchers we can use and some girls who can really hit the ball,” Ensminger said. “When I look at the West, I see the same things. They’ve got pitching and hitting.

“You never get all the best players, because there are conflicts with graduations and senior trips. But this group is really good.”

Players report at 10 a.m. Friday and are scheduled to have one practice before the 6 p.m. game time at Louisiana College in Pineville. The second game is set for noon Saturday. If Friday’s game is rained out, the teams would play a doubleheader on Saturday, said LHSCA Directior Terence Williams.

The coaches for both teams reported Thursday night to begin planning. Kaplan’s Shay Herpin is the West coach.

“I want to go over the rules and come up with two solid units,” Ensminger said. “Players are supposed to play four innings in one game and three in the next. And there are some other considerations. You have some girls who can only play on either Friday or Saturday because of graduation.

“I’m looking forward to watching these girls play. A lot of them have played against each other for years, and now they’ll get the chance to play together, which is nice.”

The game features several high-profile players. St. Thomas More catcher Bailey Hemphill is an Alabama signee on the West squad. East Ascension shortstop Claire Weinberger is an LSU signee for the East. Ensminger’s niece, Kourtney Gremillion of St. Amant, is a Louisiana-Lafayette signee also playing for the East.

The roster is dotted with plenty of other college signees and several local players Ensminger knows well. Dutchtown pitcher Ali McCoy tops the list along with East Ascension pitcher Jessie Watts, Zachary pitcher Baylie Doiron, Live Oak shortstop Lauren Brown, Catholic-Pointe Coupee infielder Katelyn Bellelo and Maurepas infielder Lacy Loupe.

The West squad also includes two Ascension Parish players Ensminger knows, Ascension Catholic pitcher Julia Beck and outfielder Rae’Shaun Malancon. Brusly’s Kaitlin David is part of the West squad.

Facing Herpin is another thing Ensminger looks forward to. Dutchtown plays in Kaplan’s tournament and the two coaches have played each other since Ensminger was coach at Parkview Baptist a decade ago.

“Relationships you build through the years are a big part of softball,” Ensminger said. “These games add to that.”