When Anna Dies is on a softball field, it’s not unusual to see balls flying out of the park. After all, the senior Lady Techsters-signee led the state with 12 home runs last year for the Lady Bucs.
But softballs flying into park — now that’s another matter. Coach Leanne Prather was hitting fly balls to Dies and her teammates one recent afternoon when one of the Lady Bucs let out a yelp. An unseen marauder had tossed a ball onto the field and it had nearly hit her.
Upon closer inspection, however, it was obvious the ball was intended for Dies, since it was inscribed with “Anna, will you go to the prom with me?” Dies found a marker in the concession stand, wrote her answer on the ball and tossed it back out of the park.
The prom was held on Saturday night at the Silver Lake Ballroom, just across the street from The Times office. Read on to find out if Dies attended and if the young man with the misdirected aim received the answer he was hoping for.
A left-hander with speed and power, Dies’ power numbers are down this year heading into Monday’s 5 p.m. meeting with Pineville in the opening round of the LHSAA Class 5A state playoffs. That’s because most teams have figured out that she can beat you with one fateful swing. It made it a no-brainer for the Louisiana Tech coaching staff to come calling.
“We’re so excited to have Anna coming to La. Tech,” Techsters coach Mark Montgomery said. “Her natural abilities give her so many opportunities to help our team continue to grow.”
Dies is hitting a lofty .537 with 5 homers, 12 doubles and 28 RBIs despite batting leadoff.
Part of that success comes from Prather, who has had a long relationship with her star pupil. It started when the Prather was in high school umpiring Dies’ T-ball games and continued in middle school when she gave her pitching lessons.
“Anna has grown up here in Haughton and we are certainly proud of her,” Prather said. “She’s a genuinely good person, doesn’t get in trouble, makes good grades and all of her teachers say nice things about her.”
During her formative athletic years, Dies was coached by grandparents, Anna and Tommy Dies, who remain some of her most ardent supporters. She doesn’t know her birth mother, who never showed up for a custody hearing when she was just a toddler.
“I don’t remember her at all, but it’s never been an issue,” said Dies, whose favorite TV show is Criminal Minds. “The parents of all my friends treat me like I’m theirs.”
Dies will join Natalie Smith and Ashley Smith as graduating seniors this spring. Ashley is headed to Harding College on a softball scholarship, while Natalie is expected to give up the sport after this season.
“Natalie and I grew up playing together and we’re very close. Ashley and I always played against each other until this year, but we have gotten close sharing the pitching duties,” Dies said. “I’m also close to Keeleigh Bennett because we’ve been through a lot of the same stuff.”
Dies wrote “yes” on the softball tossed into the complex by Trey Morris, and sent it on its way. She purchased a dress from Gina O’Neal, mother of Lady Buc Savannah O’Neal, that “fit me perfect,” and had a wrist corsage provided by Morris’ mother to match his boutonnière.
After dinner at Kobe, the entourage of athletes and their dates headed to the ballroom for the evening’s festivities. Softballs, tossed or otherwise, were not part of the plan.
Dies sent the following Instagram message to fellow seniors Natalie Smith and Ashley Smith:
“I just wanted to let Yall know that I’m so glad to have spent my senior year with Yall two. This season was a little rough but Yall were there to make it better! Yall help me when I’m down and keep me up. I’m so glad to see Yall graduate and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Yall. No matter what stay we are going to stay in touch Bc Yall keep me sane and I couldn’t go long without talking to Yall. Ashley, I can’t wait to hear about all the good things you do at Harding and I’ll be at some games! Natalie, I can’t wait to be at your beautiful wedding! Yall don’t forget to come visit me at Tech either! I seriously am thankful for the both of Yall and love Yall sooo much.” 😊 #seniors #BombSquadAlumni
Haughton (15-8) at Pineville, 5 p.m.; Parkway (15-11) at Sam Houston, 5 p.m.; Riverdale at North DeSoto (24-1), 4:30 p.m.; Loranger at North Webster, 5:30 p.m.; Lakeside (12-9) at Hannan, 5 p.m.; E. Beauregard at Cedar Creek (23-5), 5 p.m.; Logansport (7-13) at Central Catholic, 3:30 p.m.; Harrisonburg at Florien (19-3), 4 p.m.; Evans at Castor (13-8), 3:30; Patrick Taylor at Stanley (13-9), 2:45 p.m.; Doyline (9-10) at Holden, 4 p.m.