Although all three players are naturally right handed, they have spent years crafting their hitting skills from the left side of the plate and using their speed to get on base.
Slap hitting is not an easy skill to learn. Slappers run towards the pitcher before making contact with the ball. This allows them to use their speed to reach first base faster, but it comes at a price.
"It's hard enough to stand there still and try to hit the ball that's coming at you", said volunteer coach Sharonda McDonald, who works with the LSU slappers on a daily basis. "But it's really difficult to run towards a pitcher and try to hit the ball at the same time."
For Blades and Andrews, slap hitting was an exciting next step in their softball careers.
"I think it was my idea," Andrews said. " I just wanted to try left handed one time, so it was kind of like I cut the stone for my own path by just trying it."
"One of my coaches, in the middle of a tournament, just told me to try bunting on the left side, just because I was quick" Blades said, "Then I just stuck to the left because I got on base more and that's what they needed for LSU."
Heyward was a little more skeptical at first.
"I didn't really buy into it," Heyward said. "The entire first year I tried it, I struggled because no one really taught me how to. They just said you run through the box, and you slap at the ball."
There weren't many slap hitting coaches, so Heyward learned by watching tapes on four-time First Team All-American Natasha Watley, who played for UCLA and the U.S. Softball Women's National Team.
The more Heyward learned from watching Watley, the more she liked slap hitting. Now, she enjoys being part of the slappers at LSU, and she continues to learn new techniques each day.
The LSU slappers have a distinct bond. They practice together, compete with each other and encourage each other.
Entering this weekend's series with Kentucky, the trio has racked up 67 hits. Andrews and Blades not only bat 1-2 in the Tiger order but lead the team with .378 and .360 batting averages, respectively. They also have mixed in some power to their game with eight extra bases hits and 19 RBIs. In fact, Andrews won the series opener with a solo home run in the 14th inning of LSU's SEC opener at Mississippi State.
The slappers contribute a big part of their success to McDonald, a former All-American at Texas A&M who also spent seven seasons playing professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch League and Italian Professional League.
McDonald is able to give tips and share her own experiences to help the slappers improve. Her time playing professional softball has helped her earn the team's respect.
"I don't think you really understand it unless you are one, so I think it's a unique kind of club," McDonald said. "Each player brings a slightly different style. Jacee has good bat control and can place the ball well, while A.J. uses her power to drive the ball over the defense. Simone offers a mix of the two styles."
The slappers use these differences to help each other improve. They willingly take advice from each other and from McDonald.
"We accept criticism from each other because we understand that we all go through the same thing," Heyward said. "I think the fact that Coach McDonald's got to face the best pitchers around, the best defenses around, that really took her game to the next level. What she teaches is something we've really bought into."
"I feel like I have learned a lot from Sharonda," Andrews said. "I think I've become a better hitter because of her. She's someone who is an All-American and has played on a professional league, I think we would be dumb not to listen and learn from her."
"Coach McDonald's been there and done that before" Blades said, "It's really neat to go to her for certain things we are struggling with."
McDonald enjoys working with the slappers. She recognizes that her experience can help her teach them little tricks so they can improve.
"They were already really good when I got here," McDonald said, "It's just tips here and there to make them a little bit better."
Speed is another common bond between the slappers. Each of the LSU slappers is fast, but none of them know who is the fastest.
"We haven't raced yet," Andrews said, "But when we do, I'll let you know who wins."