LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette softball team remained undefeated after last weekend’s Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational, but the team did go through at least a little adversity.
A 4-3 win over Iowa to open things up Friday proved to be a tough mental game in the circle for sophomore Alex Stewart, who threw 1.1 innings, gave up three runs and was visibly rattled.
Ragin’ Cajuns coach Michael Lotief inserted Christina Hamilton to shut things down and Hamilton did not disappoint. Her efforts on the weekend — 14 shutout innings and three wins — earned her Sun Belt Conference pitcher of the week honors.
“It is crazy just how much you crave to be out on the field and compete when you can’t do it,” said Hamilton, who was sidelined with an arm injury to begin the season.
“To be out there competing again with my sisters was great.”
Jordan Wallace finally proved what Lotief had been saying about her all season — she’s not a robot.
After two dominant outings Friday against Hofstra and Saturday against Missouri State, Wallace gave up a two-run home run to McNeese and just didn’t have her best stuff, according to Lotief.
Lotief then went to Hamilton who picked up the big win. Catcher Lexie Elkins, who has the duty of catching both the power thrower in Wallace and the placement thrower in Hamilton, said both pitchers are good to go.
“I trust both of them fully; they’re great pitchers,” Elkins said. “They call a pitch and I catch it. They just try to hit their spots.
“(McNeese) had a good approach against (Wallace). They both can get it done. We trust them fully.”
Lotief said he may have overlooked just how locked in to the competitive mindset Wallace and Hamilton have brought in the early season, something Lotief said has pleased him.
“If anything that I have overlooked how locked in they are mentally,” Lotief said. “First thing we area always concerned with is that they stay healthy. The second thing is can they be effective. They are very effective.”
Still, with Wallace and Hamilton seemingly being the 1-2 punch atop the Cajuns pitching staff, Lotief insists he must continue to develop the young arms of Stewart and freshman Kylee Jo Trahan.
“We still have to develop those other two somehow,” Lotief said. “That’s the logistics of this team. We have two seniors out there in Jordand and Christina and we’ll be sitting here next year asking who we are going to pitch if we don’t develop them.
“And I’ll be called a goofball.”