UL Softball Preview-The Infield
Today, in part two of my 2012 Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball preview, I'll take a look at the infield.
Matte Haack looks to be UL's opening day first baseman. The Arizona transfer may not put up the power numbers of former first baseman Gabiele Bridges, but will provide some pop. Hacck, who played sparingly with the Wildcats in 2011, blasted four homers in her freshman campaign of 2010, so it's not unrealistic to think that she won't put up a double-digit home run season playing full-time at UL.
Haack, who was a high school shortstop in Katy, Texas, is also a good athlete, starting a number of games at third base at Arizona, so expect her to be a plus defensive player.
Second baseman Paige Cormier may have been the most pleasant surprise a season ago. After playing sparingly in her first two years, Cormier came into her own last year, hitting a .286, with five homers, and 36 rbi's.
Cormier was so steady a season ago, that the Teurlings Catholic product hit in the clean-up spot a large portion of the year.
She had a great fall too, so expect similar, or even better number from Cormier this season.
The Cajuns have a special shortstop in junior Nerissa Myers. A second team All-Sun Belt Conference selection a season ago, the Petal, Mississippi native hit a .372, with 43 rbi's, and led the team, and the league in runs scored, with 77.
Defensively, Myers has few peers. She committed only five errors last year, and makes plays that would make college baseball shortstops envious. There are very few players that fans would want to pay to watch play defense, and Myers is one of them.
Look for Myers to add another element to her game this year, the power game. If she does that, and continues to improves, she'll not only be the best shortstop in the league, but one of the best in the country.
Senior Megan Granger is the incumbent at third base. The Teurling Catholic product hit a .244, with two homers, and 20 rbi's a season ago. Granger also provides a steady glove at the hot corner.
Pushing Granger, and others, for playing time, is sophomore Natalie Fernandez. After a little bit of a slow start in 2011, the sophomore from Denham Springs came on strong and finished with a robust .365 batting average.
Fernandez can play second, third, and the outfield, so if he continues to get on base the way she did the second half of last year, she'll get plenty of at-bats.
The other players are freshmen, and all could be redhsirted, but the coaching staff likes their long-term ability.
Taylor Meaux, a Vermilion Parish All-Parish selection in 2011, is somebody to keep an eye on in the future. Meaux helped her Vermilion Catholic High School team to the 2008 state crown.
Freshman Peyton Webb, from Montgomer, Texas, also looks to have a bright future. Webb has power, blasting double-digit homers in her final two years of high school ball. She will have to make the adjustment to college ball, but she could be a solid corner infielder down the road.
Freshman Samamtha Walsh, from Ingleside, Texas, is a projected power-hitting middle infielder, with speed. She hit a .386 in her junior season of high school ball, with three homers, and over 20 steals, despite playing most of the season with a fractured pinkie, and followed that up with an impressive senior season.
You never know when, or even if, college freshmen will adjust to the college game, but these three freshman look like they'll be player.
As a whole, the 2012 UL infield looks like it will be a real strength.
UL junior shortstop Nerissa Myers
The Cajuns open their reg