2014 UL Softball Preview: Catchers
Through the years, with the likes of Tiffany Whittall, Joy Webre, Lana Bowers, and Sarah Draheim, Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun softball program has been blessed with outstanding catchers.That great catcher tradition is expected to continue in 2014, with Lexie Elkins and Linzey Cifreo expected to see most of the time behind home plate.
Elkins, a sophomore, is a transfer from Texas Tech, who brings a lot of tools with her. She's a solid receiver, has a good arm, and has the ability to develop some power at the plate, to go along with her already solid bat.
Elkins graduated a semester early from Victoria East High School in Victoria, Texas so she could play college softball last spring.
Getting thrown right into the fire, and without any fall practice to help her adjustment to college softball, Elkins hit an impressive .282 in 47 games for the Red Raiders last season.
Even more impressive, even though she still could have been playing high school softball last spring, Elkins struck out only seven times in 117 at-bats with Texas Tech last year, while walking 17 times, for a sparkling .393 on-base percentage.
Elkins didn't hit any home runs last year, but understand that she was playing college softball one year early, and the coaching staff feels as though the power is coming.
Cifreo, a sophomore from Walker, Louisiana, hit a .235 in 17 at-bats last year for UL, after redshirting in 2012.
In high school, Cifreo was an All-Dsitrict, All-Parish and All-Metro selection in 2010 at first base, before moving to catcher in 2011. In 2010, she hit .448 with 10 doubles and 22 RBI. She followed that by hitting over a .400 with five home runs in 2011.
Cifreo is very athletic, can play multiple positions, if needed, and is now in the third year in the system. She should prove to be a valuable member of the team in 2014, even if he doesn't get the bulk of the starts behind the dish.
With two sophomores, especially with one that was just beginning college only 12 months ago, the Louisiana catching corps is young, and will need some time to mature. But with Elkins and Cifreo, the Cajuns are extremely talented at the position, and the great run of terrific catchers should continue.
After asking the question; "How are we going to replace Whittall/Webre/Bowers/Draheim?", in three years Cajun softball fans are likely going to be asking; "How are we going to replace Elkins/Cifreo?"
Catching looks to be in very capable hands for Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun softball team in 2014.
On Thursday, I looked at the Louisiana pitching staff for 2014.
On Monday, I'll run down the infielders.
The Cajuns will open their 2014 regular season schedule on Friday, February 7, when they take on Northern Iowa and Texas in the 2014 Louisiana Classics at Lamson Park.