La Plata grad Bilodeau picks Jack­sonville for soft­ball

La Plata grad­u­ate goes Divi­sion I af­ter whirl­wind spring, summer

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Nearly 2 1/2 months have passed since Alyssa Bilodeau helped La Plata’s soft­ball team win its third state cham­pi­onship with a 9-1 vic­tory over Catoctin of Fred­er­ick County at the Univer­sity of Mary­land’s Robert E. Tay­lor Stadium in Col­lege Park.

Now, Bilodeau’s col­lege ca­reer is churn­ing, as af­ter be­ing no­ticed play­ing travel ball for the 18-and-Under Vir­ginia Unity at the At­lanta Legacy Show­case in mid-July she re­cently signed her na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play soft­ball for NCAA Divi­sion I Jack­sonville Univer­sity.

Bilodeau, a Char­lotte Hall res­i­dent, had orig­i­nally com­mit­ted to Divi­sion III Sal­is­bury last fall, but opted to head to the Sun­shine State when the new op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self.

Play­ing col­lege soft­ball was a mo­ment the La Plata grad­u­ate had been wait­ing for all her life and now her dream came true.

“This is so ex­cit­ing and over­whelm­ing at the same time,” Bilodeau said. “I’ve al­ways wanted to play Divi­sion I and even though it was last minute this was a op­por­tu­nity that I could not pass up. I’m just thank­ful and ecstatic to play­ing ball at the next level.”

La Plata head soft­ball coach Dave Krahling spoke highly of his ace.

“First, she has worked very hard and if she con­tin­ues to fo­cus and work she will be a big part of the Jack­sonville pro­gram,” said Krahling, the All-Charles County Coach of the Year this past spring. “Se­condly, I’m so proud of her ac­com­plish­ments. She has worked hard for the past four years that I’ve coached her. She

de­serves all that has been pre­sented to her and I wish her the best.”

Bilodeau men­tioned that while at the four-day show­case in At­lanta, Jack­sonville as­sis­tant coach Erica Ay­ers saw her play­ing on July 16 and im­me­di­ately wanted her to fly down for an of­fi­cial visit. Bilodeau flew down on that fol­low­ing Tues­day and ended up mak­ing her of­fi­cial de­ci­sion to play with the Dol­phins on the 22nd and was of­fered a full schol­ar­ship.

“When I went on my visit I got to meet an in­com­ing fresh­man and the head coach [Jen­nifer Steele],” said Bilodeau, who led Vir­ginia Unity to a 7-1 record at the show­case. “The cam­pus was very nice and the weather was beau­ti­ful. It was very fam­ily-ori­ented and ev­ery­one just made me feel wel­comed and I just felt com­fort­able.”

Fol­low­ing a stel­lar se­nior sea­son with the War­riors, Bilodeau has had a very busy summer in travel, lead­ing Vir­ginia Unity to a 44-7 record where it claimed the ASA/USA Vir­ginia State Cham­pi­onship, the WFC World Cup and At­lantic Coast Show­case ti­tles. At the ASA Na­tion­als in Bloom­ing­ton, Ind., Bilodeau and her Vir­ginia club also fin­ished tied for ninth out of 80 teams.

Bilodeau had other of­fers from Divi­sion II’s Charleston (W.Va.) and Divi­sion I’s Troy Univer­sity, but Jack­sonville was the per­fect fit.

Last sea­son, the Dol­phins fin­ished 28-30 over­all and 8-10 in At­lantic Sun con­fer­ence play, so Bilodeau hopes to make an im­me­di­ate im­pact and most likely will be see­ing the field a lot as a true fresh­man.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing col­lege. It will be a lot more struc­tured and more time con­sum­ing than high school,” said Bilodeau, who will ma­jor in ex­er­cise sci­ence. “It’ll be hard away from my fam­ily, but it will be worth it.”

Bilodeau, who played four years on var­sity, two as a start­ing pitcher, won back-to-back All-Charles County Ath­lete of the Year hon­ors in her fi­nal two sea­sons.

Bilodeau was named the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s Most Out­stand­ing Player as a se­nior this past spring. In the state fi­nal, she re­tired 20 of 26 bat­ters, in­clud­ing the first eight to start the game, giv­ing up just four hits while strik­ing out five. She pitched over 140 in­nings for the sea­son with a 1.70 ERA, throw­ing as high as 64 mph.

“My se­nior year was so awe­some,” she added. “We were in­sep­a­ra­ble on and off the field and I’m go­ing to miss my team­mates and coaches. Win­ning the state ti­tle was spe­cial and will be a mo­ment I will never for­get.”

FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

La Plata High School grad­u­ate Alyssa Bilodeau, pic­tured in the Class 2A state cham­pi­onship in May, re­cently signed her na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play soft­ball at NCAA Divi­sion I Jack­sonville Univer­sity.

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