DENHAM SPRINGS – If she has her way Denham Springs High shortstop Paige Luquette would like to continue a recent trend in the Lady Jackets program.
Upon the completion of her career Luquette will be the newest member to extend her playing days beyond high school when the three-year starter signed a scholarship last Wednesday with LSU Eunice.
“It was really cool, I looked up to them and I’m hoping some of the younger girls look up to me and want to continue playing college softball,” Luquette said of 2018 signees Natalie Parker and Rayne Minor. “I think it would be really cool for everybody to get that chance to play.”
Despite a coaching change that brought Meghan Collins to Eunice to take over the Bengal’s ultra-successful program – one that’s garnered six NJCAA national championships and three of the last four titles – Luquette felt compelled to sign after initially committing to Hinds (Miss.) Community College.
“I really love coach (Meghan) Collins and I love her coaching style which is close to coach Leslie’s,” Luquette said of her coach at DSHS’ Leslie Efferson-Yellot. “I really liked the atmosphere there when I went on my visit. I knew that’s where I belonged. I loved all the girls and all of the coaches. That’s where I was meant to be.”
Luquette has impacted Denham Springs’ success – which included a trip to the Class 5A state quarterfinals last year - since she’s started since her freshman year. She began her career at third base, moved to second base as a sophomore and then to shortstop in 2019 where she expects to play her senior season.
That versatility will serve Luquette well when she arrives at LSU Eunice where she projects to play either second base or shortstop.
“Paige has been an impact player from the moment she stepped on the field her freshman year,” Efferson-Yellot said. “She has been a blessing to coach and is an outstanding young lady. Paige believed in our vision, goals, and team concept, and has been instrumental in our success as a group.”
Collins, a graduate of South Alabama, served the past two years at the University of Montevallo before taking over at LSU Eunice in July where she succeeded Andy Lee, who left to become head coach at Northwest Florida State.
Collins also served for two years on the staff at Southeastern Louisiana where she concentrated her efforts on the team’s offense. The Lady Lions led the nation in stolen bases with 162 during her tenure.
“It’s definitely going to be a winning program and I’m really excited to go into it and hopefully continue to be a winning program,” Luquette said.
Luquette has been an All-District 4-5A performer three over the course of career, earning first team honors the two past seasons.
She’s also been an All-Livingston Parish selection in three of her previous seasons, being elevated to first team last season when she batted .341 with a .707 slugging percentage – including five homers, four triples and 23 stolen bases.
“Being a leader and standing up for the right thing is an incredibly difficult task in the world we live in today, and Paige has been a leader for our team,” Efferson-Yellot said. “We, Paige’s DSHS softball family, are so very proud of all she has accomplished. LSU Eunice will be getting an outstanding individual, student, and softball player next year.”