Softball: Cajuns coach Glasco still in pain stage after NCAA exit
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 21, 2019
OXFORD, Miss. – When it was done, UL softball coach Gerry Glasco – usually when to tell it like it is, however harsh – almost seemed as peace with the reality of it all.
Rather than dwell on all that went wrong, Glasco – his No. 7 Ragin’ Cajuns eliminated from the NCAA Oxford Regional with two losses Sunday to No. 17 Ole Miss – tried his darndest to focus on the positives over the negatives and look much more forward than back.
But neither, he readily acknowledged, would come easily.
“You know, I’m just really proud of my team,” Glasco said as he glanced at a boxscore from Sunday’s season-ending 5-4 loss that showed UL’s final record to be 52-6. “I’m really proud of my kids.
“Last year they won 41 games, and for them to come out this year and win 52 games and give me the effort they’ve given me all year, you know, I just love these kids. I love the team.”
After beating Southeast Missouri on Friday night and No. 1 Regional seed Ole Miss on Saturday, UL went into Sunday needing one win to advance to a Super Regional that – as it turned out — will be hosted by Arizona.
But the Cajuns dropped Sunday’s first game 5-1 to the No. 11 national seed Rebels.
Starting pitcher Summer Ellyson was pulled as UL fell behind 2-0 in a third inning inning that ended with Ole Miss up 5-0, and the Cajuns never could fully recover.
The Rebels quickly took a 3-0 lead in the nightcap.
UL, fueled by Raina O’Neal’s three-run homer, rallied to take a 4-3 lead.
“Everyone left everything they had on the field, and it just showed,” UL catcher Julie Rawls said of Cajun bats coming alive in the nightcap.
“We went up to bat with a fight,” she added, “and just saw the ball better, and just did everything we could to get on base.”
Ole Miss won it, however, with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“I hate it for the seniors, because I really love those four senior girls,” Glasco said with reference to designated player/catcher Lexi Comeaux, outfielder Keeli Milligan, third baseman Kara Gremillion and pitcher Alison Deville.
It’s for that reason, Glasco suggested, that he’ll likely deal with some regret in the short term.
“You feel guilty as a coach when you don’t lead them to a victory, or you don’t find a way for them to go onto the next round,” he said.
“It won’t be easy the next couple days,” he added, “but I’m extremely, extremely proud of our team and the effort they (gave) us all year.”
Until losing its first game Sunday, UL had won a program-record 29 games in a row. It went undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play. And it of course took the Sun Belt Tournament.
That behind them, Glasco and the Cajuns can only look ahead to 2020 now.
“We have a huge returning team coming back, and I think our seniors are gonna step up and be really good leaders next year,” Rawls said. “And I think we’re gonna carry on what these seniors have handed down to us, and so I’m really excited for next season.”
So is Glasco, as much as he was hurting the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s two losses.
“The future looks bright,” he said, “if we can stay focused and stay committed to what we’re trying to accomplish.
“So, the offseason, it will be tough for a couple days. I probably am gonna be really down for two or three days.
“And I’ll refocus,” he added, “and I’ll try to figure out what I need to do to make my ballclub even better next year.”
Flanked by O’Neal and Rawls as he spoke, Glasco acknowledged he’d have a lot to ponder in the days to come.
The spectacular plays by Ole Miss, like when Rawls got robbed of a home run by Kylan Becker at the outfield wall Sunday. Some of the umpiring, like when a Rebels runner first was called out at second base – only to have the call reversed, and the runner later homered in. Perhaps the many difficult coaching decisions too.
“You know, I look over and I’ve got a sophomore like Raina (O’Neal), and then Julie (Rawls) will be a senior next year,” Glasco said. “(Sarah) Hudek will be a senior. (Casidy) Chaumont will be a junior. We’ve got a really good sophomore class for the next two years.”
Standout Ellyson, the Sun Belt’s Pitcher of the Year, and shortstop Allisa Dalton, the SBC Player of the Year, will be seniors next season too.
“So, there will be a lot to be excited about after we have time to think about everything and digest it,” Glasco said Sunday. “But tonight there is a lot of sadness about the seniors.
“In the next couple days, I’ll be second-guessing every play, every detail, and things I could have did different, or should have did different.
“There will be a lot of looking backward,” he added, “and there will be a little bit of pain in the next couple days.”