Sarah VanEtta, Sarah Boquet and Gina Escude all attend different schools, but the trio of local girls have shown plenty of talent as teammates on the Louisiana Voodoo travel softball team — and that hasn’t gone unnoticed at the next level.
All three players are committed to play Division I softball well before the start of their senior year, each making their choices during the summer. VanEtta, a junior at Hahnville, has committed to the University of Memphis. Boquet, a sophomore at Destrehan, is on her way to play at Missouri-Kansas City. And Escude, who attends Academy of our Lady but lives in Luling, has committed to Southeastern Louisiana University.
VanEtta broke out in a big way as a sophomore, the outfielder hitting .439 while posting team highs in home runs (9) and RBIs (41). She is one of four Tiger players who have already committed to play at the next level, with fellow juniors Courtney Ortego and Danielle Duplay en route to Southeastern and Nicholls State, respectively, while senior Pryscilla Prince has also signed with Southeastern.
“All of them have been critical parts of our program,” Hahnville coach Jerry Nugent said. “They’re very productive players who very much bought into what it takes to win at this level. They take the extra time, make the extra effort each time they take the practice field and that shows up on game day.”
VanEtta said Memphis softball coach Natalie Poole really appealed to her and singled out the program’s family atmosphere as a major drawing point.
“I had another offer, but going to Memphis and meeting my coach went a long way for my choice,” VanEtta said. “First of al,l she’s a Christian which is great fit for my family and for me. It’s only four hours away, which is very big because I am a family person. She made it clear she’ll take care of me, and my family if they come up there, so that was important.”
Boquet, meanwhile, wasted no time making an impact for Destrehan as the team’s starting catcher. She led the Wildcats in home runs this season while batting .398 with 26 RBIs and 26 runs scored.
She said she received the offer from Missouri-Kansas at the beginning of her freshman year after taking a visit to the school campus as an 8th grader. The school’s staff allowed her time to decide for sure. This summer, she decided to make her choice.
“I absolutely loved the coaches and the way they run things,” Boquet said. “They are very kind and treat everyone as family on the team. Also, I love the way they travel. They are in the WAC so they play on the west coast and play in Hawaii. I knew this was the place I wanted to go since the first minute of my visit.
“I really just fell in love with Kansas City. Even though I had interest from a lot of schools, this was my dream school.”
Boquet said the Kangaroos’ coaching staff liked the quickness Boquet has behind the plate as a defender while blending in the ability to hit for power offensively.
Escude, meanwhile, is about to play in her first season of prep ball at AOL. For the Voodoo over the summer, she batted .368 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs while playing strong defense in centerfield.
She’s played since the age of seven and says she’s excited to know she will be part of the Southeastern program, and a little surprised at the early interest from the college level.
“I really like the school, and it’s very close to home,” Escude said. “I like that it’s not just about softball there, but they’re really tight-knit off the field. They focus on what’s on the field but also what you do in school and how you grow as a person. I’m definitely looking forward to working to get better.”