ulsoftball.051819

Now that his UL Ragin' Cajuns season is over, coach Gerry Glasco will turn his attention immediately to rebuilding his team for the 2020 season.

After Sunday’s heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Ole Miss ended the 2019 UL Ragin’ Cajuns softball team, coach Gerry Glasco said he would do a world of painful second-guessing “in the next couple of days.”

Knowing how badly he wanted to end this season in Oklahoma City, there’s no doubt that took place.

The other thing that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone is how much energy Glasco will put into molding next year’s team.

In many ways, this team-building process through aggressive recruiting is actually Glasco’s favorite part of the job. So really, who knows what the UL roster will look like come early February 2020? Especially after falling short of his goals this season.

After all, very few had any idea about many of the transfers a day after LSU eliminated the Cajuns in Baton Rouge this past May.

On paper, though, there are fewer holes to fill than Glasco had last year at this time.

“The offseason will be tough for a couple of days,” Glasco said after Sunday’s loss. “I’ll probably be down for two or three days. I’ll refocus and try to figure out what I need to do to make my ball club even better for next year.

“I’m extremely proud of our team and the effort they gave all year. I’m proud of what we accomplished. If you look back 15 months, you’d probably wouldn’t dream we’d be where we’re at. The future looks bright if we can stay focused and stay committed to what we’re trying to accomplish.”

On paper, Julie Rawls will be back at catcher, Kourtney Gremillion at first base, Casidy Chaumont at second, Alissa Dalton at shortstop, Raina O’Neal in center and Sarah Hudek in left. That’s the majority of this year’s starting lineup.

In the circle, Summer Ellyson returns for her senior season and two-time All-American pitcher Megan Kleist is scheduled to join coach Mike Roberts’ pitching staff.

That alone would add a totally new dynamic to the staff. Not since the days of Jordan Wallace and Ashley Brignac in 2012 have the Cajuns truly enjoyed a top-notch 1-2 punch.

We’ll see how that plays out.

But on the surface, the biggest hole is replacing a four-year starter at third base in Kara Gremillion.

The only other position player to replace would be Keeli Milligan in right.

With that said, simply assuming UL will be able to replace the leadership of Alison Deville and the leadership and clutch hitting of a Lexie Comeaux might be a dangerous proposition.

“This season has been amazing,” Rawls said. “We grew so much together. We hung so tightly this whole season and just built off everything. We came together at the end and just gave it all we had. This season was really special.

“These seniors were unbelievable. They brought so much stuff to the team and to me, that I can’t take for granted. We just want to carry that into next season. I just think that next season, people are going to take the Ragin’ Cajuns seriously.”

Also returning with high hopes will be pitcher Kandra Lamb.

Another big chore for Glasco during his offseason is finalizing a schedule that won’t put his Cajuns behind the 8-ball come next May if the two-headed monster in the circle allows UL to reach greater heights next spring.

Losing to Ole Miss on Sunday makes it three straight seasons without reaching a super regional. Prior to that, UL had made seven super regionals (and two WCWS) in the previous nine seasons.

This marks the first three-year super regional drought since the first three years of the new format from 2005-07, before returning to the World Series in 2008.

“I’m really proud of my kids,” Glasco said. “I was thrilled they won 41 games and for them to come out this year and win 52 games and give me the effort they gave me all year, I love these kids and I love this team. I hate it for the seniors. You love those four senior girls. 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 on to the next round.”


Follow Kevin Foote on Twitter, @FooteNote.