By T. Scott Boatright
Going from Cougar to Cajun felt like a home run move for Cedar Creek senior softball player Lillian Soto.
Soto made her first step in that move Wednesday as she signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her softball career on the collegiate level with the Ragin’ Cajuns of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
“On my visit, I loved the Cajuns’ staff – they were amazing,” Soto said. “The atmosphere they brought and the facility in general is just really nice.”
Location also spiced up Soto’s desire to head to ULL.
“I didn’t want to go too far from home so that was a happy medium for me,” said Soto, who was also recruited by a number of other DI schools including Western Michigan and Georgia State. “I think that was kind of a big deciding factor. I had a couple other options, but they were a lot farther than I wanted to go. That was not part of the plan.”
Cedar Creek head softball coach Julie Riser said the Ragin’ Cajuns are getting a good one.
“She has played for me since sixth grade,” Riser said. “She started as a seventh grader on our championship team. I knew when I saw her take her turn in the (batting) cage as a sixth-grader she was going to be special. I told my assistants that she was going to play varsity the next year.
“It’s been a long road, I know. She had an ACL injury, and we all know that gets tough mentally and physically rehabbing all that. But that’s been her journey, and I’m super proud of her. She played travel ball all throughout and worked really hard individually, too, with her dad (LA Tech letterman TJ Soto, who was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2000). They put in a lot of time and hard work.”
Soto and her father both thanked the community for its support.
“Moving back down here when we did and getting the support we’ve gotten from the community and this family of friends throughout this journey,” said TJ Soto. “With the injury and the time we spent, we greatly appreciate all of y’all for what you’ve done for us as a family and the support you’ve given her throughout the athletic career she’s had from softball to basketball and through the injury process.”
As a junior at Cedar Creek last spring, the Lady Cougars’ infielder batted .385 with eight doubles, 10 home runs and 39 RBIs.
Soto followed that up with a .414 batting average and 1.034 slugging percentage in fall travel ball while producing 12 RBIs over 29 at-bats for Baton Rouge-based D1Vision 18U Nationals.
She earned second-team all-district honors during the Lady Cougars 2018 state championship run and second-team all-district honors in 2019 when Cedar Creek reached the quarterfinals. She garnered academic all-district in 2021 on a state quarterfinals finisher following the COVID season of 2020, and she was first-team and academic all-district while earning Creek’s Defensive Player Award as a junior.
Soto said she wasn’t 100 percent sure if she would red-shirt her first year or not.
“They want to see how I do in the fall,” said Soto, who said she plans to major in something to do with nursing. “Depending on what happens then will play a big part in their decision of whether I play in the spring or if they red-shirt me my first year.”
To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE