Allie Walljasper seems to have a teenage love affair going with LSU.
And the Tigers, are one lucky Division I collegiate softball program.
The Sierra High incoming senior, who has already won two Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV titles during her high school career, has verbally committed to LSU. She plans on moving to the South next summer, after her final competitive, travel-ball season with the San Jose Sting.
“I have one more year left with the Sting, and then I’ll be going to Louisiana next summer,” said Walljsaper, the Bulletin’s 2013 All-Area Softball MVP, awarded for a third straight season. “Basically, the campus is beautiful and the softball team is spectacular. I’ve been out (to Baton Rouge) four times.”
Walljasper seems to have her mind set on LSU.
She’s one of the area’s most heavily-recruited softball players since Oakdale 2006 graduate Marissa Drewrey (California) and East Union 2008 graduate Erin Arevalo (Georgia).
Walljasper had several offers from Division I schools all over the country, too.
“I had tons I could’ve picked from,” she said. “UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma — all the big schools.”
Walljasper, who led her T’Wolves to a 25-2 overall record and Valley Oak League and section titles, still has one more year left before high school graduation 2014. The Sierra program, while having Walljasper in the circle, has made it to every Sac-Joaquin Section title game the last three years, not to mention winning three straight VOLs as well.
“She’s not one of those pitchers you’re going to get every year,” Sierra head coach Nick Olmo said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have the right combinations to get us to the (section) championship three years in a row. We’re just enjoying the ride as long as we can. Great pitchers don’t grow on trees, and when you do get one, you do what you can and make the most of it.”
Sierra has certainly capitalized.
The T’Wolves finished the year being named the Cal-Hi Sports Division III Team of the Year. And that likely had some to do with Sierra having two other Division I-bound players on the squad in Sommer Wilson (UC Riverside) and Iyana Hughes (Georgia).
Matter of fact, Walljasper, Wilson and Hughes were all teammates even before they even entered the high school ranks. In summer 2011, Walljasper and her two other now-graduated Sierra teammates were members of the San Jose Sting that won the 14-and-under national title in Moline, Illinois.
Last summer, the Sting finished third in the 18-and-under gold division nationally. The Sting represent champion high school programs as well as nationally ranked programs with highly-touted players.
And the travel-ball competition is significantly rougher in comparison to the high school level, but Walljasper & Co. still kept their focus.
“It’s definitely different,” said Walljasper, who boasted a 0.47 ERA with an 18-2 record and tallied a career-high 227 strikeouts this year. “The girls are not as competitive as my travel team, but for the most part it’s pretty good.
“I’m very proud of my team. We all worked real hard throughout the whole season and we proved to ourselves and the coaching staff that we could win the whole thing.”
Sierra did win the sectional tournament by going 4-0 and knocking off Los Banos, Ceres and Kimball Tracy, twice. Walljasper was also crowned the VOL’s co-MVP this past season as well.
She dominated three complete games in the playoffs and pitched every inning beside two. Walljasper averaged just under 10 strikeouts per game during the T’Wolves’ run toward their second section title in three years. She will have a chance to make it three out of four next year and perhaps compete for yet another national title during her concluding season with the Sting.
“She’s been everything to the program the past few years,” Olmo added. “In high school softball, the pitcher makes all the difference in the world. We just feel blessed she ended up at Sierra.”
Just like head coach Beth Torina may one day feel blessed Walljasper ended up at LSU.
“She pretty much picked LSU her (sophomore) year,” Olmo concluded. “That’s been her dream school. She loved the people there. She flew out there with her dad to visit, and that’s her focus right now – maintaining her playing abilities and getting there.”
To contact John-Joel Griffiths, e-mail email@example.com.