Softball: Three Keys to a Successful Fall for Louisiana Softball
Gerry Glasco identifies areas the Ragin’ Cajuns aim to make progress in prior to the 2021 preseason
LAFAYETTE – With the team practice period of the fall session currently underway for Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball as of Sept. 11, head coach Gerry Glasco examines three key points of emphasis for the squad to focus on in order to make progress toward its goals for 2021. During the initial preparations for his fourth season with the Ragin' Cajuns, Glasco and the coaching staff will focus their attention on the following: PITCHING Identifying complementary pitchers to complete the rotation with Summer Ellyson Glasco's Response: "We have to develop two or three pitchers to complete the bullpen and build around Summer Ellyson. The key to Spring 2021 is developing depth in our bullpen, so that we don't fall back into the 2019 way of where he had to rely upon one arm." DEFENSIVE LINEUP Identifying where to place individuals from a pool of several talented athletes Glasco's Response: With the return of Alissa Dalton, plus the arrival of All-Pac 12 shortstop Jade Gortarez and freshman standout Kyleigh Sand, we have the luxury of three superb defensive shortstops to build the defense around. Look for Dalton and Gortarez to both play shortstop in the fall, with experimentation for both at third base. It is very likely that whomever plays the best at third base will determine our defense, more so than which one is the best shortstop – they are both among the Top 3-4 shortstops in the country. Melissa Mayeux will be practicing as a utility player all fall and can be used at first, second and third base. With Kaitlyn Alderink at second base, plus Julie Rawls and Geana Torres back at catcher, experience is readily available. The outfield sees the return of Raina O'Neal, Kendall Talley and Taylor Roman, who will see competition from talented newcomers Jenna Kean and Karly Heath. Locking down the best options on defense is of huge importance because we want to be set come the 2021 season in February. VERSATILITY ON OFFENSE Aim to develop two types of offense to take advantage of roster depth and for matching up with opponents Glasco's Response: Using our added depth, a point of emphasis will be developing two different types of offense: a speed offense based on the stolen base and creating pressure through use of hit and run and a power offense that will be based on doubles and home runs. We feel that we have the depth and versatility on our roster to match up with any opponent, using either style of offense when needed.
ABOUT LOUISIANA The Ragin' Cajuns are coming off a Top 10 finish in the national polls during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. Louisiana (18-6 in 2020) scored ranked wins over Louisiana State, Oklahoma State, Texas and Florida (twice) in addition to two victories over Ole Miss, leading the squad to a No. 1 ranking in the lone RPI ranking of the year. Louisiana's list of returning players is highlighted by five seniors who are utilizing an extra year of eligibility awarded a result of COVID-19 pandemic which prematurely ended the 2020 season. All-Sun Belt performers Summer Ellyson, Alissa Dalton and Julie Rawls are joined by Kaitlyn Alderink and Morgan Gray as seniors taking advantage of the additional season. Entering their first fall session as Ragin' Cajuns, the newcomers group is headlined by Division I transfers Jade Gortarez (Arizona State), Vanessa Foreman (Arizona), Jenna Kean (Arizona) and Karly Heath (South Carolina). There are also eight freshmen experiencing their first collegiate fall season.