Where Is Tiana Patrick Going To Play For UL Softball?
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team got deeper and more versatile recently, with the signing of just one player.
Utility player Tiana Patrick, who played one season at Santa Ana College, and who has three seasons of eligibility remaining, recently signed with Louisiana.
So, where is Patrick going to play?
In a perfect world next season, UL fans would probably like to see Patrick play a number of different positions, without spending too much time at one specific spot.
A California native who prepped at Roosevelt High School in Eastvale, California, Patrick played catcher, shortstop, and second base at Santa Ana last season, while hitting a .354, to go along with 19 stolen bases, earning All-Orange Empire Conference First Team honors.
The Cajuns return Lexie Comeaux at catcher next season, while Alissa Dalton returns at shortstop.
At second base, Brittany Holland, who was the starting second basemen to begin 2018, prior to being injured, returns, as does Casidy Chaumont, who was a starting outfielder, before moving to second base, following Holland's injury.
As we saw last season, all good teams need depth.
Had Patrick been with the team last season, she probably would have played a lot at second, after Holland's injury, and she certainly would have caught some games, especially early in the season, when Comeaux was hampered with a tender arm.
In 2019, Patrick will provide catching depth alongside Comeaux, and will also allow head coach Gerry Glasco the luxury of saving some wear and tear on Comeaux by using her as the designated player in a few games.
There are a lot of good utility players in college softball, but only a select few can legitimate play catcher at the Division I level. Patrick is one of those.
Because of that, she should probably be referred to as a "super-utility player".
Projecting to 2020, Patrick is so highly viewed of as a receiver, it's possible she may take over as the catcher then, as Comeaux will be a senior next season.
Comeaux, who has been the starter behind the plate for the last two seasons, and who is a team leader, is without question the starting catcher, barring injury, next season. It's just nice to have another option if an injury takes place at a position which has a lot of injuries.
At shortstop, make no mistake; you want Dalton playing as many games as possible next year. That being said, if she's banged up for a conference series on a weekend, Patrick is more than capable of playing shortstop, without Louisiana sacrificing much defense.
Along with Chaumont and Jolie Readeaux, Patrick will allow Glasco to be careful with Holland, who will be returning from a torn ACL, especially early in the season.
If Holland needs a game off to allow her knee to mend, or if she is used as the designated player in a few games, Patrick can certainly handle second base.
Kourtney (first base) and Kara Gremillion (3rd base) will be back at the corner positions next season, but Patrick provides insurance at both of those spots as well.
And of course, the outfield is losing the likes of Kelli Martinez, Brittany Rodriguez, and Kalyn Watts, so Patrick, who can also play the outfield very well, can also see time out there as well.
The more versatile you are, the better your chances of playing, and Patrick is as versatile as they come. She can play just about any position, and she can play them well.
She should gives the team so many more options, while providing a lot of peace of mind.
Patrick might not have a defined role for some time, but she'll be a welcomed addition to the squad, who will get her at-bats, somewhere.
Productivity will determine where, and how much, Patrick plays. Just like everybody else, she'll get her chances to play, and the more productive she is, the more at-bats she'll get.
Keep in mind; 14 different players started 8 or more games for the Cajuns in 2018. You have to have more than 9 players. You have to have depth. You have to have versatility.
The addition of Patrick will make Louisiana a better, more well-rounded team in 2019, regardless of where she plays.