2018 UL Softball Preview: The Outfield
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.
On Thursday, I previewed the catchers:
On Friday, I took a look at the infield.
Today, I spotlight the outfield.
This group features some solid older players, as well as some talented younger ones.
Kelli Martinez, a senior from Katy, Texas will likely be the starting left-fielder.
A three-year starter, Martinez was named to the 2018 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team.
A slapper, Martinez hit a .326 last season, while driving in 19 runs, both career-highs.
Martinez is a defensive standout, who ranks as not only one of the best defensive outfielders in the conference, but in the country as well.
The Cajuns are going to be counting greatly on Martinez this year; not only as a player, but as a leader, as they're expecting her to end her solid Louisiana career on a major high note.
Freshman Casidy Chaumont will likely begin the season as the starting centerfielder.
A prep standout at Sam Houston High School in Moss Bluff, Chaumont hit a .462, to go along with six home runs, 37 runs batted in, and 39 runs scored as a senior.
Chaumont, who can also play the infield, has a combination of power and speed that should make her a fixture in the line-up over the next four years.
You hate to allow your expectations to get too big, but Chaumont may be one of those special players in the future that Cajuns fans have grown accustomed to.
Right-field is still somewhat up in the air, but Brittany Rodriguez is a good bet to get a lot of playing time there.
A transfer from Lamar, where she hit a .380-plus and was a first team All-Southland Conference selection both seasons, Rodriguez adds defense, speed, and experience to the UL roster.
A slapper, Rodriguez will likely begin the season as the starting right-fielder.
Coach Gerry Glasco has a number of options in the outfield, however.
Aeriyl Mass, a redshirt freshman from Barbe High School, provides speed, while Beth Ashley, the opening day right-fielder last season, provides power.
Those two will certainly get at-bats, either as outfielders, or as a designated hitter.
Freshman Jolie Readeaux, from Houston, Texas could also see some time in the outfield.
Readeaux, who has impressed everyone during preseason workouts, can play the infield as well, and may be used as a super-utility type of player.
A name to remember for the future is Raina O'Neal.
As a freshman, O'Neal started all 55 games for the Texas Tech Red Raiders in 2017, leading the team in home runs (12) and runs scored (34), while finishing second on the team in slugging percentage (.533) and runs batted in (32).
O'Neal is an exciting athlete who will have to sit out 2018, but should make an immediate impact, beginning in 2019.
Defensively, this group should be able to play with anyone.
Offensively, while the jury is still out, it looks like this bunch will be able to swing the bat.
With a lot of talented players at his disposal, Glasco should be able to find what he's looking for to make the outfield a strength in 2018.