2018 UL Softball Preview: The Infield
The 22nd-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team opens up their 2018 regular season schedule on Thursday, February 8, taking on Samford in the first day of play in the Mardi Gras Classic at Lamson Park.
Between now and then, I'll preview this year's squad, as we look ahead toward the upcoming season.
Yesterday, I previewed the catchers:
Today, I take a look at the infield.
I'll begin on the left side of the infield first, as we know what is going to be the alignment there, barring injury.
Junior Kara Gremillion will hold down third base for a third-consecutive season.
A native of Gonzales, Gremillion hit a .330 as a freshman in 2016, to go along with 20 runs batted in, before hitting a .320 a season ago, with 30 RBI's last season as a sophomore.
A first-team All-Sun Belt Conference and All-Louisiana selection last year, Gremillion is also an outstanding defensive player.
Joining Gremillion on the left side of the infield will be sophomore Alissa Dalton, who will play shortstop.
A native of Cypress, Texas, Dalton played for defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners last season, starting 29 games, hitting a .326, prior to transferring to UL.
A left-handed hitter with a sweet swing, Dalton is a gap hitter who will likely hit double-digit home runs.
Defensively, Dalton is tremendous, and she, along with Gremillion, should give the Cajuns one of the best defensive alignments on the left side of the infield in the country.
The right side of the infield is a little bit more of a question mark, but Brittany Holland is the favorite to get most of the playing time at second base, or somewhere on the infield.
Holland who played one season at Central Arizona College, was named an NJCAA first team All-American following the 2017 season, after hitting a .471, to go along with 15 home runs and 81 runs batted in.
A native of Gilbert, Arizona, Holland will have three seasons of eligibility remaining with the Cajuns.
Holland played shortstop in junior college, and can also play the corner spots on the infield, but look for her to see the most time at second base this year.
First base is the position that is the biggest mystery, and the one position on the infield where we could see a number of different faces this season.
There are a number of talented players that Gerry Glasco can turn to, and a number of different things that he can do, from a match-up standpoint.
A youngster who has really impressed in the preseason has been freshman Jolie Readeaux, from Houston, Texas.
She is going to be used some in the outfield, and could possibly see time at second base as well, but the coaching staff really likes her, so she will get her share of at-bats, even if they do come as a super utility-type player.
Readeaux, a fantastic athlete, hit a .494 as a high school senior last season.
If coach Glasco wants to go with speed and defense, from a match-up standpoint, Readeaux may be his choice.
If he elects to go with more power, redshirt freshman Kourtney Gremillion and sophomore Beth Ashley are options.
Gremillion belted 13 home runs as a senior at St. Amant High School, while Ashley, who could also see time in the outfield, as well as at catcher, was the opening day right-fielder last season.
Another name to look out for is freshman Caitlin Garcia, from Spring, Texas.
Garcia, who hit 12 homers, while driving in 59 runs as a high school senior, can play either of the corner infield spots, as well as catch.
Garcia is another player who could see time at first base.
The talent is there. One or two of the players are just going to have to break away from the pack in the first month of the season.
As for the rest of the infielders, sophomore Alaina Guarino saw time as a pinch runner last season. She is another terrific defensive player on the roster, so she can be used in either role.
Junior college transfer Kynadi Tipler is someone that can play the corner infield spots.
The coaches like her offensive ability, and it will be interesting to see if they decide to use her this year, are redshirt her, leaving her still with three years of eligibility.
Junior Cori McCrary, freshman Sarah Koeppen, and freshman Kimber Cortemelia are other options on the infield as well.
Freshman Casidy Chaumont can also play the infield, if needed, but it's looking more and more like she'll be a starting outfielder when the season begins.
The Louisiana infield will likely be really good.
Defensively, it will likely be the best in the conference, and offensively, it seems like they'll be able to hurt the opposition, with either power or speed.
It's also a deep, versatile infield, with a lot of talented players who can play more than one position, and help you in multiple ways.
From a position standpoint, the infield may very well turn out to be the strength of this year's team.