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Softball: Mom knew best ‘” Boswell turns into UL’s secret weapon

Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, May 3, 2018

UL’s Carrie Boswell has turned out to be both a pitcher and a hitter for the Ragin’ Cajuns as a true freshman this season. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/THE ADVERTISER)

Even once you leave home for college, quite often Mom still knows best.

UL true freshman pitcher Carrie Boswell learned that the hard way this season.

Throughout the season, the No. 22-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns have endured stretches where runs were hard to come by.

Knowing her daughter had the ability to hit as well as pitch, Amy Boswell threw out the suggestion. Perhaps her little girl’s swing could help beef up the lineup.

More: Cajuns respond to coach’s tirade

“She was begging me, ‘Carrie, why don’t you tell them you can hit?’” Carrie Boswell recalled.

Did she want to hit? Of course she did.

Did she want to take the chance of approaching her new coach with an idea that might not work? Now that was a different story.

“I was just too shy to speak up, I guess,” Boswell said, “but I definitely missed it (hitting). It was kind of eating at me, because I was thinking, ‘What if I can help the team?’ but I didn’t really have the guts to say anything about it.”

Then fate took over.

During the team’s trip to Georgia State, circumstance allowed first-year head coach Gerry Glasco to see a bat in Boswell’s hands for the first time.

More: UL softball claims another series win

“The pitchers have had a long dialogue with Coach Gerry, always picking with him, ‘Come on, let us have a batting practice. Let us hit on the field,’” Boswell related, laughing. “Just joking really.

“We were practicing at Emory University and we had a really good practice. Everyone was high-spirited. We felt pretty comfortable going into the series and coach Gerry was in a really good mood, so he finally let the pitchers hit on the field.”

Naturally, Glasco didn’t expect to see much. He would soon get more than he bargained for.

“I was kind of nervous at first because I knew I’d be a little bit rusty, but I wasn’t as rusty as I thought,” Boswell said. “I actually hit pretty well.”

Perhaps Mom was right.

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“Immediately afterwards, he (Glasco) came up to me and asked, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you could hit? Your swing is really pretty. I didn’t know you could do that.’

“I was just like, ‘Oops, I’m sorry.’”

Mom was right.

The following Wednesday against Southeastern, Boswell got an at-bat. Same thing in the following week’s midweek game. But when the Cajuns hosted Georgia Southern two weeks after that impromptu pitchers’ batting session, Boswell was in the batting order.

She got two hits in that series, and this past weekend, the former Alexandria Senior High star got two hits in each of the final two games at UTA.

“Every at-bat, I get a little bit more confident,” Boswell said. “This past weekend at UTA was the first weekend that I felt really confident in my swing, so I think I’m back as a hitter, but there’s always room to get better.”

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Glasco said he was sick that night her first saw her hit in Atlanta, wondering what kind of difference it might have made earlier in the season.

“I thought to myself, ‘Why in the world did I not just look at all of these kids to be sure?’” Glasco said of his initial reactions.

So far, the midseason experiment has worked pretty well. Boswell is hitting .333 with an RBI in 21 at-bats with no strikeouts.

“She’s got a really good swing,” Glasco said. “Her swing is very mechanically sound. I don’t think she’s struck out yet.

“She offers power and she’s fast. She runs well. When we did the home-to-home times earlier in the year, she was under 12 seconds. She’s pretty quick.”

It’s not like Boswell never considered hitting at the Division I level. In fact, when former UL coach Michael Lotief recruited her, he said they would decide which way to go once she got to Lafayette.

More: Dalton feels right at home with Cajuns

Their plan was to red-shirt Boswell and use that year to make that decision.

In November, though, Lotief and his staff were fired. Prior to leaving for Christmas, Glasco met individually with each member of the team.

In that meeting, Boswell told him she thought she ought to concentrate on being a pitcher.

A few scrimmages into preseason drills, Glasco saw the wisdom in that approach.

“He told me he didn’t want me to red-shirt because he saw potential in my pitching and I might be able to get some innings this year,” Boswell said.

And she has showed signs so far. In 33 innings, Boswell is 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA, allowing 32 hits, 17 walks and striking out 17.

More: Ellyson flourishes with simple approach

“It’s definitely a big difference (in Division I),” Boswell said. “I’ve always felt really comfortable in myself. Getting on this big stage has definitely humbled me I guess you could say.

“I think our pitching coaches have done a really good job of helping me get through it. They went through the exact same things. They’ve helped me with staying calm and getting the nerves out.”

That was never more needed than in February with No. 2 Florida in town.

“My heart was racing 90 miles a minute,” Boswell said. “I was really excited, though. When you’re growing up, you see all of these big schools with big names like UCLA and Florida, and you don’t know if you’re ever going to be on that stage.

“Playing them was like, ‘Wow, I made it.’ I was really proud of myself, but obviously the game didn’t go like I hoped it would have gone. I was just happy to be there in that moment.”

A little more than two months since that baptism into Division I softball and suddenly so much has changed for Boswell.

“I am glad I didn’t redshirt,” she said. “With coach Gerry having that confidence in me, I was ready to play. I wanted to play.”

For the record, Glasco said, “I love a pitcher that can hit, because I think they handle pressure well.”

So Boswell will get a chance to be a two-way player from the get-go next season.

“I guess the cards played out like they should have played from the beginning,” Boswell said.

Yes, but with a little lingering regret.

“I’m kind of disappointed in myself for not believing in my abilities,” she said. “I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t speak up. I didn’t want to say something and then ultimately fail. Coach Mike knew what I could do, so I was a little nervous to prove myself to coach Gerry.

“I’m kind of sad that I didn’t give myself that chance from the beginning, but I’m really glad that it’s worked out like it has.”

Somehow, Mom knew all along.

ULM at UL Softball

Series: 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.

Radio: KPEL 1420 AM.

TV: CST on Saturday.

Records: ULM 24-25, 10-14; UL 33-13, 18-6.

Top ULM pitchers: Paige Murray (13-13, 4.47 ERA, 164.1 IP, 222 H, 35 BB, 62 K); Sydney Wader (5-3, 3.89 ERA, 45 IP, 34 H, 26 BB, 24 K). Team: 4.53 ERA, 317 IP, 443 H, 99 BB, 119 K).

Top UL pitchers: Summer Ellyson (17-7, 1.59, 172.2 IP, 108 H, 52 BB, 164 K); Casey Dixon (8-3, 2.68, 75.2 IP, 55 H, 35 BB, 47 K); Kylee Jo Trahan (5-1, 2.09, 47 IP< 32 H, 30 BB, 42 K). Team: 2.09 ERA, 334.2 IP, 229 H, 144 BB, 274 K.

Top ULM hitters: Sydney McKay (.421, 34 RBIs); Jayden Mount (.394, 4 HRs, 30 RBIs); Rochelle Roberts (.366, 30 RBIs); Hunter Hogan (.329, 1 HR, 25 RBIs). Team: .316, 302 runs, 68 doubles, 7 triples, 15 HRs, 77 SBs.

Top UL hitters: Alissa Dalton (.381, 3 HRs, 28 RBIs); Kara Gremillion (.348, 19 RBIs, 14 SBs); Kourtney Gremillion (.304, 3 HRs, 20 RBIs); Brittany Rodriguez (.299, 5 RBIs, 10 SBs); Lexie Comeaux (.294, 4 HRs, 25 RBIs). Team: .297, 223 runs, 55 doubles, 6 triples, 21 HRs, 69 SBs.

Notes: Beth Ashley, who has played in 35 games and started 30, is officially indefinitely suspended from the team. Also no longer part of the team are freshman Teryn Pritchett, Makenzie Carpenter and Kirsten Pruett have all been granted releases to transfer to other schools.