LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese softball head coach James Landreneau and his staff added a little bit of everything on the first day of the early signing period for 2021 by inking seven players that includes two pitchers (Amanda Allen and Lindsay Henson), one outfielder (Grace Cantu), one catcher (Kelsey Gaspard), and three infielders (Reese Reyna, Katie VanDermark, and Cristlyne Moreno).
“This is an exciting time in our program to welcome new players and their families to our Cowgirl family,” said head coach James Landreneau. "We are always excited for each new class to join us in our journey. The 2021 class brings in two strong arms in the circle to continue building a great pitching staff as well as incredible offensive power numbers and speed around the bases. These athletes have competed on the highest level and have big game experience which brings a lot to the table when recruiting. We feel as if this class will give us a lot of tools to work with and compete on the highest level of college softball. When considering culture for our program and community we couldn’t ask for a better fit.
“I would like to thank our recruits and their families for choosing McNeese as well as our present and past coaching staff for putting in the hard work to make this day happen. We are excited to keep building the program and believe this class we play a vital role in our future.” Allen is a native of Richmond, Texas who is a is a four-year varsity letterwinner who has led Foster High for the past three years. In 2019, she was named district and regional Pitcher of the Year and has also been named USA team pitcher and district Pitcher of the Year. She is ranked in the top 50% of her class academically.
McNeese head coach James Landreneau on Allen:
“Allen brings a new look on the mound being a lefty that we are excited about. She has progressed nicely over the years and has showed the versatility in her ability to generate outs. She has also competed on a very competitive travel team and has picked up plenty of awards for her pitching performances. We are excited to see her join our pitching staff and build the future.” Henson comes to McNeese from Lawrenceburg, Indiana and East Central High School. She is a four-year varsity starter who set a school record with 17 homeruns her sophomore year and lead her team to two conferences championships. Henson has led her county in homeruns and batting average and is a conference MVP. She is also part of student ministries and the Spanish club.
McNeese head coach James Landreneau on Henson:" Henson is another big arm in this class that brings both velocity and movement. She is a very talented two-way player with a big arm and big-time power at the plate."
Cantu hails from Celina, Texas where she attends Celina High School. She was named her teams 2018 Newcomer of the Year and 2019 offensive Player of the Year. She also has a National Championship under her belt with her 16U travel ball team.
McNeese head coach James Landreneau on Cantu:"Cantu has a wicked swing that I think can really add some talent to our offensive lineup. Cantu has a great personality and family who will continue the great culture we have going here at McNeese." Gaspard is a local signee from down the road in Roanoke, Louisiana. She attends Northside Christian High School where she is a four-year letterwinner and a member of the Beta Club. She was selected NCA Offensive Player of the year as well as a two-time All-State selection. Her offensive power and leadership have led her to a third place finish at PGF Nationals, Louisiana High School State Runner Up and State Championship.
McNeese head coach James Landreneau on Gaspard:"Gaspard joins our family being a local prospect who not only excels in the classroom but on one of the highest stages of travel ball. She is super competitive and can bring tremendous offensive numbers to our existing line-up. Kelsey is an extremely competitive individual that’s excels at everything she does."
Reyna comes to McNeese from Santa Fe, Texas where she attends Santa Fe High SchoolShe is also a four-year varsity letterwinner with both PGF and USA/ASA runners-up honors. She has been named the defensive Player of the Year as well as the Santa Fe High School Defensive MVP. Reese is a member of the PALS program and plays for one of the most competitive travel teams across the country.
McNeese head coach James Landreneau on Reyna:
“Reese is an exceptional defensive player with both quick hands and great athletic ability. She has played on a very competitive travel team which leads to her several runners-up accomplishments against very good ball teams. We are excited to see what Reyna can bring to our team both defensively as well as at the plate.” VanDermark joins McNeese from Walker, Louisiana where she attends Live Oak High School.VanDermark is a two-sport athlete in both softball and track. She is a student eagle ambassador and gifted in art. Katie has also received the Golden Glove Award as well as all-district and All-Metro for softball. She plays for a strong high school team who competes for a state championship each year.
McNeese head coach James Landreneau on Vandermark:
"VanDermark has a very strong work ethic both on the field and in the classroom. She is a physical, athletic kid with tremendous upside She is a vocal leader who will bring great leadership and versatility to our roster. Her high character and leadership will be a great asset "
Moreno is from Converse, Texas where she attends Samuel Clemens High School.Moreno is a duel sport athlete who has helped lead her volleyball and softball teams through district and on to a state run. She is a four-year starter who has made first team all-district in volleyball and second team all-district in softball. She is also a part of the HOSA Club and is certified in medical billing and coding.
McNeese head coach James Landreneau on Moreno:
"Moreno’s growth over this recruiting process has been exceptional. She is maturely focused both in the classroom and as an athlete. Her athleticism and power have been on display on both the court and the softball field. She excels in the classroom and has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills that will add to our culture "
2021 MCNEESE SOFTBALL SIGNEES
Amanda Allen, Pitcher, Richmond, TX. (Foster High School)
Lindsay Henson, Pitcher, Lawrenceburg, IN. (East Central High School)
Grace Cantu, Outfielder, Celina, TX. (Celina High School)
Kelsey Gaspard, Catcher, Roanoke, LA. (Northside Christian High School)
Reese Reyna, Infield, Santa Fe, TX. (Santa Fe High School)
Katie VanDermark, Infield, Walker, LA. (Live Oak High School)