20 Great Things From The 2017 UL Softball Season: Haley Hayden
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team had another great season in 2017.
Louisiana finished their season with an overall record of 47-8, while capturing both the regular season and postseason Sun Belt Conference titles.
The Cajuns appeared in an NCAA Regional for the 19th consecutive appearance, including their and 27th in the last 28 seasons.
It was a terrific season, with many memories.
That being said, over the summer, I’m going to try to focus on 20 things that I took away from the season.
Yesterday, I featured Lamson Park.
Today, I spotlight Hayley Hayden.
After completing her eligibility in 2016, Hayden is going to be greatly-missed.
Throughout her career, Hayden hit for average, hit for power, provided speed, and played great defense at four different positions.
And even though Hayden was beloved by UL softball fans, she probably was/is underrated.
Nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, Hayden, a native of Monroe, banged out 277 base hits during her career, the fourth most in UL softball history.
Tiffany Clark is the all-time school hit leader, with 288 hits, one ahead of Jerie Alexander, who finished her career with 287.
Danyele Gomez (283) and Kathy Morton (281) are the only other two players with more career hits than Hayden.
Remarkably consistent throughout her career with the Cajuns, Hayden accumulated 70 hits as a freshman, 69 as a sophomore, 70 as a junior, and 68 as a senior.
A starter in centerfielder, right field, second base, and first base at various points throughout her career, Hayden also ended her career as the all-time school leader in runs scored, with 251, while accumulating 214 runs batted in, which ranks 6th.
In 2016, Hayden, a four-time All-Louisiana first team selection, four-time All-Region selection, and four-time All-Sun Belt Conference honoree, hit a career-high .382, to go along with 12 home runs and 57 runs batted in.
Playing on the same team with All-Americans such as Lexie Elkins, Aleah Craighton, Christina Hamilton, and Alex Stewart, along with DJ Sanders, who paced the nation in homers last season, the exploits of Hayden flew under the radar a little bit. But her career numbers validate Hayden as one of the best in program history.
She is going to be awfully difficult to replace.