St. John’s Strickland inks with McNeese St.

St. John’s Shelbi Strickland, bottom, signs a softball scholarship to McNeese State University recently. Pictured with her are from left, father Tommy Strickland, brother Devin Strickland, brother Drew Strickland and mother Karen Strickland.   
COURTESY PHOTO/Karen Strickland

PLAQUEMINE – St. John the Evangelist High School’s Shelbi Strickland recently signed a softball scholarship to McNeese State University.

The Lady Eagles, under coach Oliver “Crickett” Crockett, have advanced to Fastpitch Top 56 State Softball Tournament in each of Strickland’s three years with the program thus far. St. John finished 23-11 overall last season and were the District 9-1A champion with a perfect 10-0 mark.

“Shelbi is an all-around player - that is for sure,” Crockett said. “She is a great shortstop but she is probably a better catcher. She has just really solidified our team the last couple of years and is that five-tool player they talk about so much. She has got it all.

“We are really excited and proud of her because it is a very good program over there and a great spot for her to be in. She has been a major part of this program ever since she walked out here and is a great leader, too.”

Strickland choose the Cowgirls after an official visit was extended to the campus in Lake Charles following a camp. McNeese is a public university and a part of the University of Louisiana System. The Cowgirls participate in NCAA Division I in the Southland Conference. They are coached by Mike Smith.

“I have always dreamed of playing college softball but never thought it would come true,” Strickland said. “Now, it is finally becoming a reality. I fell in love with the coaches, players and atmosphere and I just can’t wait to be there.”

Strickland was selected to the All-District 9-1A first team last season after hitting .378 with 36 RBIs, 34 runs, 10 doubles, two triples and home runs and six stolen bases.

A four-year starter at shortstop for St. John, the Plaquemine native will be listed as a utility player at the next level.

“I can really play anywhere and am hoping to make an immediate impact on the program,” Strickland said. “I can compete for a starting spot right away.

“I decided to go to St. John because it felt like family. I hope it carries over to my senior year and we can win the state championship at the end of the year.”

Strickland carries a 4.3 grade point average and  plans to study criminal justice. She is the daughter of Tommy and Karen Strickland.