Led By Summer Ellyson, Louisiana Looks To Get Back To WCWS
One of the most commanding aces in the college game now also dons one of the best names in the college game. Louisiana’s top pitcher, Summer Summers, also known as Summer Ellyson, married her husband, Collin Summers, this past fall.
For the sake of continuity, Summer will still use Ellyson for the 2021 season.
“It was definitely hard trying to balance wedding planning and a full fall season at the same time,” said Ellyson. “My coaches were pretty lenient, they understood that it was going to be tough to move it around with the whole COVID situation, so it was better to get it done within the fall rather than the spring.”
Ellyson leads the Ragin’ Cajuns into her final college season with a career record of 74-17, a 1.43 career ERA and over 650 career strikeouts.
“I’m a little sad, but I think I’ve put my heart and soul into it and given it all that I could,” she says. “I’m proud of where I am and I’m proud of what I’ve done and I’m excited to see what this season has to bring.”
A talented team with several high-profile transfers, the Cajuns are expected by many to make their return to the Women’s College World Series this spring for the first time since 2014.
What’s one word Ellyson uses to describe her team this year? Competitive.
“This team is very gritty,” she says. “We’re very blue-collar and we are going to work as hard as we can to achieve our goals.
“Our ultimate goal is to reach a national championship. We’re a very talented ball club and I know my team is going to have my back and I’m going to have theirs. It’ll be one hell of a last ride.”
The team finished the 2020 season with a record of 18-6 and has since added several highly touted transfers such as Ciara Bryan, Karly Heath and Justice Milz, all coming by way of the SEC.
With so many new faces, many teams in similar situations would face issues with trust and communication, but Ellyson insists that this team is united.
“You have to give them the benefit of the doubt,” she says of her new teammates. “You can’t assume anything about anybody. All you can do is let them go out there and show you what they can do. You have to trust that they’re going to give their all, that we’re all going for the same goal.”
Ellyson also says that one of this team’s strengths will be their powerful offense, something that Louisiana softball fans are quite familiar with.
She says: “That will be an important part of our success this year. Our offense is amazing, and this year, we have an even better defense to back them up.”
Ellyson believes that a big reason for the team’s recent success in practice and scrimmages is the “all in, all the time” mentality that it has adopted after losing the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The team believes that you never know when things are going to end, you never know when something is going to happen, so you have to play all out, all the time,” Ellyson added. “You can’t cruise through anything. You have to be 100% at all times.
“We’re one of the best teams in the nation and we should hold ourselves to that standard.”
As one of the best pitchers on one of the best teams in the nation, Ellyson welcomes the 2021 season with open arms.
“I just want to help my team as best as I can,” Ellyson said. “I want to do whatever it takes. If that means I have to throw all weekend long, then that’s what I’m going to do.”