LAFAYETTE — UL-Lafayette coach Mike Lotief attributed much of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 3-1 weekend — mainly the two wins over Oregon — to the work of Alison Deville.
Deville, a redshirt freshman from Port Barre, faced just one batter over the weekend, but her contribution came during intrasquad scrimmages in which she simulated Oregon star pitcher Cheradin Hawkins.
“The success we had against Hawkins we can directly attribute to Alison Deville,” Lotief said. “She did those simulators over and over and over again with our hitters. Developing pitchers is not something that happens overnight. It is a process. Some kids get it quicker than others. It’s a combination of so many things that just takes time.”
Lotief said the development of Deville and junior Macey Smith but will pay dividends this season.
“I thought Macey threw the ball very well (last weekend),” Lotief said. “She was throwing 66 (mph) with great command. Alison gave us a totally different look. Hopefully people can tell from the time she left high school to now, she is a totally different pitcher. Her velocity is up and she has great command. Her drop-curve is a plus pitch.”
Lotief said Lamson Park was an “incredible softball environment” for the Cajuns’ three games against Oregon.
“The way they handled the environment and the way they played together was incredible,” Lotief said. “I don’t think they played perfect softball, but they played with energy and confidence”
The Cajuns’ games this weekend are against Rutgers and Alcorn State, teams that present their own challenges, but a far cry from the challenges Oregon offered. Lotief said he isn’t concerned with the dropoff in opponents.
“You are never playing the opponent,” he said. “The way this game is set up, on paper, if you have the superior team, you can’t just overpower somebody. You can hit the ball square and as hard as possible and it can go right at somebody. ... The reason we play so many games and the team that wins the world series has so many losses is because you don’t see perfection in this game.”
Lotief said the continued fast starts of pitcher Alex Stewart and freshman Kara Gremillion can largely be credited with support from their teammates.
“They aren’t out there on an island,” he said. “This team plays for each other and has each other’s backs. We aren’t asking our pitchers to strike out 10 or 15 in a game. We just need them to throw strikes, trust their defense and manage the game.”
Lotief has called catcher Lexie Elkins one of the three best players in the country. Thursday, the Cajuns host Texas Tech — the school where Elkins began her decorated softball career.
Elkins holds no animosity toward the Red Raiders, and she won’t have or need any extra motivation to win, Lotief said.
“I am sure she has friends and people she cares about on that team,” Lotief said, “but I know her. As competitive as she is, she wants to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s Texas Tech or Oregon or anyone else. We’ll have her sing the fight song and show us how to do that ‘guns up’ stuff they do. But that’ll be just for fun. She doesn’t have any extra motivation.”