What We Learned From the Cajuns Weekend in the Clearwater Invitational
Cajun Softball finished up a tough weekend over at the Clearwater Invitational. The ladies went into the weekend 4-0 and left the weekend at 5-5. We talked last week about how this was going to be a very important weekend for the team and despite the outcome, I still believe there are a lot of positive fans should take away from this past weekend. First things first, let’s get a quick recap of the Cajuns’ weekend in Clearwater.
The Cajuns started the weekend off right with a 4-1 win against Indiana and a couple of nice defensive plays from the Hoosiers kept the game from getting out of hand. They fell behind Michigan 7-1 in their second but mounted a great comeback that would fall short in a 6-7 loss. They didn’t play well against a nationally ranked Oklahoma State squad where the Cajuns were run-ruled 12-1. They went into the next with better energy as they got into a tough battle against nationally ranked Arkansas time, but came up just short in a 6-7 loss. On Sunday, they lost an absolute heartbreaker against the 2nd-ranked UCLA Bruins where they lead in the seventh with two outs. The Cajuns seemed to have a hangover in the next game as they were run-ruled by Florida State 2-10. A tough tournament for the Cajuns but I do believe they can learn from this, here are some key take aways from the Clearwater Invitational.
Cajuns Have Two Future Stars
The Cajuns have found themselves two future stars in a couple of freshman hitters. Freshman Catcher Victoria Valdez is the Cajun’s leading hitter after two weeks through the season. She is leading the Cajuns with a .370 batting average with ten hits and 8 RBIs. She still has things she can improve fielding wise but there is no doubt that the future is bright. Cecilia Vasquez is another star in the making as she came out of the weekend with a .278 batting average with 6 hits and 2 RBIs. She also made some outstanding plays on defense as well.
Cajuns Have A Deep Pitching Staff
Anyone who watched the Cajuns play last season knew what they had in Sam Landry and Kandra Lamb but you didn’t know about their depth. The Cajuns are deep this year and that will help them go a long way come tournament time. Lamb and Landry were unquestionably two pitchers who could give a full game, but I think they found a third one in Meghan Schorman. She has a 2.48 ERA and is second on the team in strikeouts with 23. She was one out away from going the distance against Indiana and showed a lot of good spin throughout the weekend. I believe the Cajuns have three true aces in their bullpen. They also have Freshman named Tyler Oubre who made several appearances as a reliever over the weekend. She recorded 6 strikeouts and showed some mental toughness coming in to get the Cajuns out of some tough spots. The Cajuns kept UCLA off balance all game long by rotating their entire staff throughout the game.
Fielding needs improvement
The one weak area I saw in the Cajuns this weekend was the defensive errors they made in crucial situations. The Cajuns kept several innings alive this weekend by making simple errors. There were times when the Cajuns overthrew their cutoff or they couldn’t field the ball cleanly and these are the plays that made the difference in games against Michigan and UCLA. Consistency on defense is what separates the Regional and Super Regional teams from the WCWS teams.
The Cajuns can learn a lot from this weekend. They might not have walked away with the record they wanted but they proved that are competitive enough to take the blue bloods of college softball to the brink. The Cajuns will have multiple opportunities at some nationally ranked opponents starting on Tuesday with UCF and carrying over to the LSU crossover tournament. Cajuns Play the 19th-ranked UCF Knights on Tuesday at 5 PM.