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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Dorsey Steamer - Softball 1989-92, Track & Field 1993
UL Softball 1989-92
NFCA All-American: 1991; 1992, 1st Team
Career Steals: 149, 1st
Single Season Steals: 51, 1992; 35, 1989, 1990; 28, 1991
Career Triples: 18, 2nd
Team: 48-16, 1989; 44-8, 1990, 2nd in NCAA Regional; 33-10, 1991, NCAA Regional; 41-12, 1992, 2nd in NCAA Regional
UL Track & Field, 1993
Competed in javelin, hurdles, long jump, high jump
Steamer provided speed for Cajun softball
By Bruce Brown
Written for Athletic Network
Believe it or not, the UL softball program wasn't always a fixture in NCAA Regional, Super Regional and Women's World Series action.
It seems quite habitual now, but 25 years ago the program was still knocking on the door to join the elite.
Someone had to lay the groundwork for later success to come, and Dorsey Steamer was among those pioneers who showed the way for coach Yvette Girouard's Ragin' Cajun program.
“Those who went before us had laid the bricks down, and we put layers to that,” said Steamer, who went on to play professionally before establishing a coaching career at her hometown Brazosport High School in Freeport, Texas.
“Those before us set the tone. It was like a relay race, and they passed the baton to us.”
The Cajuns were 166-46 in Steamer's four years of play from 1989-92, reaching NCAA Regional action the final three seasons and suffering heartbreaking losses to Florida State in regional finals in both 1990 and 1992.
Steamer was the straw who stirred the drink.
She carried the nickname Doe Doe in her Cajun playing days, but she could just as easily have been called SuperSonic for the uncommon speed she brought to the field.
In a career that featured a pair of NFCA All-America berths, Steamer set a school record for stolen bases with 149 – still 45 beyond the next Cajun. In 1992 alone, she executed 51 steals.
She also finished as the career leader in triples with 18, and is second on that list trailing only Lana Jimenez (Stokley).
“Dorsey was that missing piece for us, with her tremendous speed,” Girouard said. “I had never coached someone that fast. It's almost as if she had another gear from home plate to first base.
“She gave us an added dimension, and quickly became a fan favorite.”
It was an era when many games were won 1-0, so having an added threat was a boon to any arsenal.
“With her on base, we didn't have to bunt,” Girouard said. “What a weapon she was from that left side.”
Steamer didn't have the green light to steal bases, despite her quickness. She stuck with Girouard's system.
“I trusted her,” Steamer said. “I went when she was ready for me to go. I always waited for her signal.”
“I think we had Pat Murphy (coaching) at first base at the time, and he was pretty good at judging when to send her,” Girouard said. “My job was to stop her if I needed to.”
Obviously, that didn't happen often.
“Back then, it was more of a speed game,” Steamer said. “We played 'small ball.' The bats didn't bounce like they do today.
“Also, it's a matter of mechanics. From high school to college, players are getting to learn so much earlier than we did. Pitchers are just as good, but hitters are built like linebackers now. It has expanded big-time.”
Once she settled into the program, Steamer felt right at ease with the Cajuns and their coach.
“Yvette was our mom away from home,” Steamer said. “She always went above and beyond to settle any problems. Whatever it took.
“We played one weekend in Houston, and my mom was getting to see me play (in college) for the first time, and I wasn't myself. I committed errors. We exchanged words. She (Girouard) was so mad at me.
“My dad (James “Bubba” Steamer, instrumental in his daughter's early growth in the sport) backed Yvette because I had disrespected my coach. Shortly after that, my mom went into a coma.
“Through it all Coach Girouard was right there. She makes you earn respect, but she doesn't stop loving you, teaching you or caring about you.”
Steamer just missed the breakthrough year of 1993, when Girouard's team finished third in the nation at the WCWS. Instead, she endured the “what if” years of near-misses.
“I remember the last play of the last game I played, when we had the chance to force another game,” Steamer said. “I made the throw from the outfield to the catcher, and we never made a play on it. Instead of the last out, it was the last safe. To me, it's never over til it's over.
“I think I stayed in my uniform for a long while afterwards. At some point, you figure you're going to wake up and go out and play another game.”
With her softball eligibility played out, Steamer spent the 1993 spring competing for a Cajun women's track and field squad that won the Sun Belt Conference crown. She threw the javelin, ran hurdles and was in the long jump and high jump.
“Our high school didn't have softball,” she said. “I was thinking I would get an opportunity in basketball or track. They weren't looking at women of color in softball. I had played softball since age 5, but it looked like it was off the table. Then UL offered. I fell in love with the place on my first visit and I thought why not go back to my first program and try to make a difference.”
So the handwriting was on the wall with the Cajuns.
Now, some 24 years after her final game, Steamer remains revered by teammates and long-time followers of the program.
“Dorsey really gets it,” Girouard said. “She values her time, and I think she realizes how formative her years at USL were for her whole life.”
“I keep in touch with teammates, and see Mike and Stefni (Lotief) when I'm in the area,” Steamer said. “When I went there, I felt I could make a difference some day in something that was going to take off. Look at it now.
“It's fun to go to games and have people I've never met before say, 'You're Dorsey Steamer.' It really blows my boys away that people remember me.
“USL was my second home, then I tell people I had to come back to save Freeport.”
Steamer has three sons – Dor'Vaughn, 16, and twins D'Arian and D'Orien, 13 – who are more interested in music than athletics, but she is happy to nurture the talents they have. They will help her decide her career timetable.
“I'll coach at least four more years, until they're finished high school,” she said. “It depends on their goals after graduation. I love it (coaching). They come out like an open book, and we're their tomorrow.
“I tell the players what my grandmother used to say: If what you did yesterday is still big, (then) you're not doing anything today.”
Clearly, Dorsey Steamer hadn't slowed down yet.
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Pictured below is Dorsey with her 1992 teammates.
Click here to view Dorsey's heroics in a 1991 Nicholls State game - a pattern for which she became known.
Click here for Dorsey's Athletic Network Profile.
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Click here for the chronological listings of the Spotlight on Former Athletes.
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