Softball: Learning process continues in Glasco era
Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, Feb. 22, 2018
The learning process between new UL softball coach Gerry Glasco and the Ragin’ Cajun faithful is ongoing.
And it’s a two-way street.
Both sides made major strides in getting used to each during last weekend’s celebrated three-game series against the No. 2-ranked Florida Gators.
That challenge continued Thursday at Lamson Park when Glasco’s No. 15-ranked Cajuns opened play in the Louisiana Classics Tournament against Southeastern.
Starting to write an entire chapter for herself in the story of this 2018 season is pitcher Summer Ellyson.
In Thursday's 4-0 win over Southeastern, she added a third jewel to her season with a no-hitter after earlier striking out 20 and beating Florida in 11 innings.
Looking back on the Florida series, much of the new learning material revolved around the pitching staff.
Many fans were likely a big perplexed by Glasco not starting senior Kylee Jo Trahan in any of the games. That really raised some eyebrows when UL got run-ruled 9-0 by the Gators in game two with freshman Carrie Boswell as the starter.
Glasco certainly understood the questions, but he also had his reasons. One, he wanted to rest Trahan after throwing a lot of innings in the first weekend and then started again Thursday against Oregon State.
He also wanted Summer Ellyson to start Sunday’s game three against Florida — the game Glasco felt presented UL with its best chance to win.
“I think Summer pitches better with a few days’ rest, and when her arm’s fresh,” Glasco said. “I thought it would be beneficial to wait to game three on Sunday before I showed her to Florida. And she was outstanding in game three.”
And as his fans and critics evaluate him in the coming weeks, remember Glasco is also trying to develop a staff.
It’s real easy for the fans and media to ink in Trahan and Ellyson as the 1-2 pitchers and discard the rest of the staff, but he’s still striving to develop a staff, more like a baseball coach.
“My ideal thinking was I wanted to start both freshmen just to get a feel for her,” Glasco said at Monday’s press luncheon. “I want to make sure we don’t overlook anybody on our staff that can help us, and both Carrie Boswell and Casey Dixon showed outstanding moments in the preseason and the early season. And I thought it was a good test for them to go out against a top team like that and really get a feel.”
If he had to do it again, Glasco might change his approach, but either way, it’s still just one step toward learning this team and us learning his approach.
“And, you know, in all honesty, I might have put both freshmen in a little bit tougher spot than what you should at that point in the season,” Glasco said. “But I thought it would allow us to see what they could bring to our ballclub throughout the season.”
It didn’t take Glasco very long in January practice sessions to see the long-term ability freshman Casidy Chaumont brings the program.
But Sunday’s game-winning, two-run homer certainly elevated his evaluation of her.
“I think she is going to be a great player before she leaves Louisiana,” Glasco said. “I think she’s really going to be an outstanding player, and I think she showed a glimpse of what she can bring to our program in the next four years when she got the walk-off hit, obviously, in the 11th, which was a monumental hit for us.”
Brittany Holland was supposed to be the everyday second baseman until her season ended with a knee injury. At that point, it appeared Jolie Readeaux would be her regular replacement.
Another big lesson learned in the Florida series is Chaumont may be the long-term solution there.
But perhaps the biggest lesson Glasco learned in the Florida series is about his fans. Still understandably feeling his way through this first season, Glasco apparently approached Lamson Park with some apprehension after getting run-ruled 9-0 Saturday evening.
“You know, Saturday night I went home … and I told my wife, I said, ‘You think anybody will come back tomorrow?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, I think they will.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t know,’" Glasco said.
“You know, it was pretty bad. I was pretty disappointed in a couple of the decisions I made, maybe protecting pitchers. But I wanted to get to Sunday with fresh arms. So for it all to work out, and we get that game three win, there was a lot of relief on my part, and I was happy and jubilant for not only our kids, but for our fans that supported us well all weekend.”
Indeed, sometimes the lessons you learn during this process are pretty sweet.