These days, UL senior third baseman Kara Gremillion doesn’t even want to consider the future.
For now, she’s too focused on the postseason that begins with the Sun Belt Conference tournament on Thursday in San Marcos, Texas.
The NCAA softball regional brackets will be announced 8 p.m. Sunday.
Soon enough, she’ll be the quiet one in the middle of the rowdy Gremillion family contingent up the first base line at Lamson Park for sister Kourtney Gremillion’s final two seasons of eligibility.
“All I want to do is play softball right now,” said Gremillion, who plans on attending nursing school in the fall before likely returning to Lamson Park in a different capacity next spring.
“Oh probably,” she said. “My sister is going to be here and my family looks like they have a lot of fun out there. I am looking forward to that.”
Not as much as she is to this stretch drive of her collegiate softball career.
“I’ve been here for four years,” Gremillion said. “We’ve been through so much in this program, just everything that’s happened. This is our last run, our last chance to do something. I want to do it for this program to show that we’re still Louisiana softball. We’re still dominant.
“We’re going to have fun with it. I’d really like to go out with a bang and make a run for the title.”
On the field anyway, this entire season has been a big relief for Gremillion.
For UL senior pitcher Alison Deville, Sunday’s scheduled start on Senior Day at Lamson Park is a dream come true a decade in the making.
“I don’t even know how to compare it to last season,” said Gremillion, whose 2019 Cajuns are ranked No. 7 nationally with a 47-4, 25-0 record and riding a 24-game winning streak to close out the regular season.
Her junior season, on the other hand, was a task taller than any other she’d ever faced as the program tried to heal and win at the same time in coach Gerry Glasco’s first season.
Largely because of to Gremillion’s heavy lifting, it was a success with a 41-16 record and NCAA regional berth.
“Last season, every game was stressful,” Gremillion said. “You had so much pressure on yourself to do good, because we were barely scoring runs.
“This year is like a breath of free air. Only a few people have to do good per game to win. As a whole, we’re so good. We just perform so well together. It’s just a lot more fun. It makes it more fun when you’re winning.”
That doesn’t mean this spring has been a pleasure cruise by any means, however. In addition to the tragic death of assistant coach Geri Ann Glasco just weeks before the season opener, talented transfers immediately heightened the expectations from a year ago.
At times during their year and a half together, it’s probably felt like a tug-of-war for both of them.
Glasco led in a different way in his second season.
“You would be surprised how intense he is (this year),” Gremillion said. “Last year, he was a big old teddy bear. It was all positive. I think that’s because we had such a rough year.
“Every single inning, he is on you to perform. ‘Do this right. What are you doing?’ Games is a whole other level for him. He really gets intense.”
Naturally, an intense player like Gremillion was all for it.
“I like it,” she said. “I like being intense. I like everybody being focused and knowing what they have to do. I’m already hard enough on myself, but it’s good to hear that he expects more out of us too.
“I think everybody needs to know that we expect more out of you. I think it’s a good thing. Being complacent on this team isn’t an option.”
That’s something Glasco knows he never has to worry about with Gremillion.
There were a lot of new faces on the UL Ragin’ Cajuns softball team this season.
“Kara is a very quiet silent leader, but a great example of someone that practices as hard as they can practice every day,” Glasco said. “Her practices are as hard or harder than a game. She plays the game the right way, always looking for the extra base. She can play defense, she can play offense, she can steal bases. She’s just a great all-around player and leader.”
In addition to the intensity, Gremillion learned to appreciate her trips up and down the batting order.
“I could say it doesn’t affect me, but definitely being at the top of the lineup, I’m definitely up there for a reason,” she said. “It’s more pressure up there. Getting moved around is not a big deal. It doesn’t bother me. I know he has a reason for it and I trust what he’s doing.
“He’s going to do what’s best for the team. I think it’s good because if you have a bad game, you get the pressure taken off of you and you go to the back of the lineup, where you can relax a little bit.”
Now so close to the future, though, Gremillion wants everyone on her team to focus on nothing but the present.
“We just need to take it one pitch at a time and not letting it get too big,” she said. “We just need to make sure everybody’s locked in and focused on winning every single pitch.”
That way, she’ll have even more pleasant memories to reflect upon when she has a very different view of Yvette Girouard Field next season.
UL in Sun Belt tourney
Site: At Texas State in San Marcos, Texas.
UL opener: 12:30 p.m. vs. TBA.
Radio: KPEL 1420 AM.
Record: 47-4, 25-0 (including 24 in a row).
Top Seeds: 1-UL, 2-Troy, 3-UTA, 4-Texas State.
UL hitting: .346, 367 runs, 83 doubles, 56 HRs, 162 SBs.
UL pitching: 1.40 ERA, 325.1 IP, 201 H, 85 BB, 365 K.