LAFAYETTE — He admitted he knows a loss to Troy on Saturday did nothing to help the Louisiana-Lafayette softball team’s RPI.
But Ragin’ Cajuns coach Michael Lotief said the 2-1 series win over the Trojans at Lamson Park supplied his team with a great weekend.
“Of course you don’t want to lose a game,” he said, “but it was a good weekend because we struggled and we had some people struggle and it cost us a game. Then we got to address it right then. We didn’t have to wait a week. We addressed it that night — in between a doubleheader. That’s how leadership is built.”
With the Cajuns up three runs and pitcher Jordan Wallace in command of the first game Saturday, Wallace suddenly lost it. She walked two batters, hit two batters and forced Lotief to go to Christina Hamilton. The Trojans got five runs in the sixth and won 7-5, just the second Sun Belt loss for the Cajuns.
“When you play a weekend series, you expect there to be highs and lows,” Lotief said. “I understand it hurts our chances of hosting (a regional) and getting a national seed. Those are not the issues we are facing as a team. We have to continue to learn and get better.
“We put ourselves in position to win game one and gave it away. Then came out in game two and won in convincing (fashion) and came out in game three and won in dominating fashion.”
The Cajuns visit Texas State for a three-game series Saturday and Sunday.
Hamilton was named Sun Belt pitcher of the week after picking up wins in the final two games of the series. Lotief said he wasn’t planning on using Hamilton in back-to-back situations this early in the season. The reigning Sun Belt pitcher of the year has been hampered by an arm injury, but Lotief said she always has been ready to take the ball.
“She texts before every game, telling me she wants the ball,” Lotief said. “She’s begging me for the ball. She’s a competitor. I didn’t want to put the load on her this early, but we had to. When she gets in the moment, she reverts back and does what feels natural to her.”
Lotief said the weekend may have put to rest any concerns of a lack in leadership. He said his core of leaders came through and picked the team up after the weekend’s adversity.
“We were worried about leadership at the beginning of this season,” Lotief said. “Shellie Landry and Haley Hayden are providing tremendous leadership. Kelsey Vincent has done an amazing job. Lexie Elkins is getting in there.
“Leadership is not only getting in someone else’s face and yelling. Anyone can do that. These kids are investing themselves into these relationships and helping others to find solutions. They felt that loss. I saw kids that were hurt. They emotionally invest themselves and give all they have. They went in there and fixed it.”