Will Summer Ellyson Be Named An All-American?
Will Louisiana Ragin' Cajun pitcher Summer Ellyson be tabbed a 2019 All-American in the world of college softball?
Yes, there are still three weeks remaining in the regular season; but if you're judging on what she has done this season, and projecting what she will do; there's no question the answer is "yes".
Currently, Ellyson is 26-4, to go along with a 1.05 ERA., 232 strikeouts, and a .154 batting average against.
Those 26 wins are the most in the country.
That 1.05 ERA. is 5th-best in the nation, among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched.
Those 232 strikeouts rank Ellyson 4th in all of college softball.
That .154 batting average against ranks Ellyson in the top ten.
Considering that the NFCA All-American Team consists of 9 pitchers, including three on the first team, three on the second team, and three on the third team; it should be a no-brainer that Ellyson will make the squad.
Statistically-speaking, there is no question that Ellyson is one of the top nine pitchers in college softball this year.
Maybe a better question is 'what team will she be named to'?
A former prep standout at Teurlings Catholic, Ellyson thrust herself into the limelight last season, going 23-10 with a 1.53 ERA., good enough for first-team All-Sun Belt Conference and All-Louisiana honors.
This season, Ellyson has been even better, evolving into one of the elite pitchers in the entire country.
At her current pace, Ellyson, a junior right-hander, will eclipse 30 wins and 300 strikeouts, and should come closer to 35 wins and 350 K's.
How would that rank in school history?
Well, it's difficult to compare softball nowadays, with the livelier balls and bats, to the softball of yesteryear; so, let's just compare Ellyson with some former Cajun greats from 2000-now.
Brooke Mitchell had an absolute sick year in 2004, going 45-5 with a 0.85 ERA. and 524 strikeouts.
No Louisiana pitcher is going to win 45 games and eclipse 500 K's anymore though, as teams play fewer games than the 68 that UL played in 2004.
But no; Ellyson, nor anyone else, is going to put together the season that Mitchell did in 2004.
After that however, it's hard to find a better season than Ellyson is currently having; and we're talking about some pretty special pitchers that the Cajuns have had.
Ashley Brignac had a fabulous freshman season; going 31-7, while posting a 1.38 ERA. and 327 strikeouts.
How about comparing Ellyson to a couple of Louisiana All-Americans?
Christina Hamilton was named a second-team NFCA All-American in 2014, after going 29-4 with a 1.56 ERA.
Alex Stewart brought home third-team NFCA All-American honors in 2016, after going 29-6 with a 1.94 ERA.
Those ladies all had amazing seasons, and their honors were justified; but Ellyson is on pace to eclipse all of them.
That's how good Ellyson has been this year.
Now; if you want to argue that the Cajuns have not beaten an elite team this year; that would be a fair argument.
I would counter by saying that they only had one chance; and that one chance for Ellyson, against Oklahoma, the top-ranked team in the nation, took place on the same day in which she had already pitched.
Plus, Ellyson proved last year that she can beat elite teams, after securing wins over the likes of Florida and LSU, who were both ranked in the top ten at the time, and Texas St., who was in the Top 25, while out-pitching the Bobcats' Randi Rupp, on multiple occasions.
Why is that a big deal? Because Rupp was a third-team All-American last season.
Ellyson has been so consistent, we, including myself, tend to take her for granted. But when you look at her resume, you realize that she's putting together the one of the best seasons in school history, and arguably the second-best since the late 90's.
In 37 appearances this season, including 31 starts, Ellyson has allowed more than two earned runs only five times, more than three runs only twice, and has not allowed more than four.
Ellyson is closing out the year strong too, allowing one run or less in her last 13 appearances, while not allowing an earned run over her last 7 outings, including 8 of her last 9, and 11 of her last 13.
As a matter of fact, over her last 13 appearances, covering 62 innings, Ellyson has only allowed two earned runs on only 25 hits.
In case you're keeping track; that's a 0.23 ERA., while giving up an average of less than three hits per contest.
Now; how she ends the year; I don't know, but I'm willing to bet she continues to finish strong.
I know this; with Ellyson in the circle, against anybody; I feel good about UL's chances.
She's that good.
Barring something unforeseen, Ellyson will be named an All-American this year; and it will be richly-deserved.