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Softball: Care-free Cajuns look more than ‘OK’ in OK

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • May 30, 2008  

Welcome to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, where dreams come true every year for a select group of softball players at the Women’s College World Series. 

To help his players feel more at home in new surroundings, UL co-coach Michael Lotief brought a bottle filled with dirt from the team’s home field, Lamson Park.

During practice on Wednesday, Lotief had each of his players sprinkle some of that hometown dirt at their respective position in the field at ASA Stadium. Lotief then put poured some dirt from the field into the bottle to take back to Lafayette.

The idea: bring a feeling of home to Oklahoma City and take something to remember back to Acadiana to cherish the moment.

On Thursday, the unseeded Cajuns truly left their mark on anyone with even a passing interest in collegiate softball, toppling top-seeded Florida, 3-2.

The bonding and closeness that helped UL rally from a 2-0 deficit against the nation’s top team was on display at the post-game press conference as senior Vanessa Soto and freshman Ashley Brignac laughed and giggled back and forth at times.

But the deepest bonding took place on the bus trip to Oklahoma City that lasted nearly 12 hours. It came in the unlikely form of karaoke.

"People always bring laptops on the bus," Soto said. "So people would take turns singing songs and then before you know it everyone is singing on the bus.

"It really just helps us take our mind off softball and think about something else."

Soto said sophomore Courtney Trahan has the best voice. That should come as no surprise because Trahan is in a band with former Cajun softball player Ashley Evans.

Junior Karli Hubbard provides the comic relief with her goofy dances and inability to sing the right lyrics, Soto said.

The Cajuns proved they dream big and can get the big hits whenever needed, with Thursday serving as the most recent example. But UL co-coach Stefni Lotief said not all of her players can hit the right notes away from the field.

"When we get the chance to listen to a little karaoke on the bus that’s pretty special," she said. "Don’t worry. They won’t be showing up on ‘American Idol.’"

Instead, the Cajuns will settle for pursuing their dreams – and their first national championship – on the diamond.