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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cardinal Couple Softball report


( Jeff McAdams with the recap of Louisville Softball's Saturday games in the NCAA
Regional. A disappointing way for the Cards to end the 2013 season.) 

Well, that certainly wasn't the Saturday I had hoped for.

UofL vs UAB

In the afternoon matchup, UofL fell in a hard fought game against UAB.   Starting off with 2 runs in the first, I thought this might be the return to the hard hitting bats that we have seen from The Cards in the past, and Alicja Wolny did oblige with a shot that pinged off the light poll in right field, but most of the rest of the game was small ball.  It was small ball that was working fairly well, however.  With a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning, it started to look like another Cardinal success was in the makings.

It started to become clear, however, that Rachel LeCoq was running out of steam in the circle.  Caralisa Connell came in for relief in the 5th inning.  Six pitches later, all balls, LeCoq returned to finish out the game.  Unfortunately, with a bit less effectiveness the rest of the way.  UAB would score four in the 5th inning, and two in the 6th to reach the winning score of 7-4.

UofL vs UCLA

In the late game, UCLA was to be the opponent.  Unfortunately, it really wasn't much of a game.
Caralisa Connell took the pitching duties most of the game, but her troubles with control continued.  Numerous walks, and plenty of base hits, and a couple of home runs came from the UCLA bats, handing UofL one of the worst losses in program history at 19-2.

The Cards just ran out of pitching.  We've talked about "Good Carl" and "Bad Carl" over the course of the season, and "Good Carl" has been missing in action for a couple of weeks now.  Rachel LeCoq tried her best to pick up the slack, but ultimately she just couldn't keep it going and the number of games took their toll on her.

What's in Store For the Future

Its hard to find much positive to say about these games, but I think you can look to the future and find, like so many sports at UofL, that the future is bright.

We knew all season that pitching would be the big question mark for this team due to circumstances that were largely impossible to predict, and for the bulk of the season they were able to overcome the marginal pitching situation with good fielding and absolutely phenomenal hitting.  This problem gets solved by recruiting good pitchers.  Its not an immediate solution as you likely aren't going to expect incoming freshmen to be star pitchers, though you might get lucky and find one that will be.  Over the course of a couple of years, though, you develop your pitching staff and solve the problem.

The other bright spot was Jasmine Smithson-Willett, who came in to pitch in the 5th inning.  While she didn't wow the crowd with incredible pitching, she held her own with a great hitting UCLA team.  JSW has potential in the circle.  Maybe she'll get to develop it, maybe there will be new pitchers that arrive through the recruiting process.  Alas, we don't have a Jenny for Softball to keep us informed on the recuit pipeline for Ulmer.  Regardless, we know that the cupboard isn't empty.  Both Rachel and Carl should be back for their senior seasons, JSW will be a sophomore and perhaps will develop her pitching skills some more.

Let's Get Some Perspective on the Season

Its hard to be happy about a season ending like this, but I think, if we take some time and look back over the season that Louisville Softball had, there's a whole lot to be proud of.  Wins over Top 10 teams, including an Oklahoma team that sat in the #1 spot the whole season.  Phenomenal hitting, great fielding, and some just generally fantastic athletes.

I'll be back at Ulmer next year, and I truly believe that this team will be even better.

-Jeff McAdams

( Editor's Note -- With LeCoq suffering from hand-swelling and Connell having control issues...the normally strong Cardinal pitching obviously wasn't at their best today. Head coach Sandy Pearsall mentioned to me in our pre-season interview that pitching was the question mark on this team. And, for 90% of the was solid, impressive and maybe third best in the BIG EAST behind USF and Notre Dame inside the circle. Injuries, fatigue and being a bit off one's game can play a major role in the post season...and it did Saturday. Like Jeff, I'll recall this season very fondly, though...and hope that the two UofL hurlers can come back strong next year. I also hope my favorite player...freshman Jasmine Smithson-Willett...can earn a chance to be the Cards third producer of strikes and shutouts. We'll also look to see if there are any pitchers coming in for 2014. Coach Pearsall told me that you have to get in on the really good hurlers early...two or three years before they ever get to college. We hope the getting has been good for Sandy and the staff.  -- Paulie)




  1. Unfortunately, the Cards had 3 pitchers all year long and chose to ignore their only recruit until the last inning of the last game. Did she WOW the crowd? Well, maybe not. But in light of the fact that she hasnt pitched since leaving California a year ago, and was thrown in to the worst situation all year,yet held UCLA to 1 run when the seasoned pitchers gave up 18.....thats a WOW in my book.

  2. JSW actually did have one pitching appearance before yesterday...relief against UNLV in a 10-1 loss. Wasn't a great effort from her...allowing four runs and didn't retire anyone.

    She was a standout pitcher in California, though. The Cards saw her as one with excellent speed and hitting capabilities, though...and she did perform quite well in left field when Jen Esteban was injured. Whether she'll figure into the 2014 pitching rotation or not remains to be seen. Both Connell and LeCoq return and they had superlative seasons...until the end. Three pitchers on staff isn't a bad thing. It's worked well for UAB this year.


  3. JSW did have a previous pitching outing, this was early on and from what rumor has it had a stress fracture in her leg and also was out for weeks.

  4. Was at UNLV games. When balls are going between legs of infielders its hardly a pitching problem. I also recall her limping to the mound, wih injured leg. Facing 10 batters all year? I wouldnt be shocked to see her playing somewhere else next year.

    1. Just from what I have seen, she plays a good outfield and hits well. She's probably the fastest returning softball player on the team. Time heals all wounsa. LeCoq's hand should heal fine and Connell needs to get her head on straight and not let little stuff worry her. Smithson Willett would make a good 3rd pitcher for this team but needs to be in the lineup every day. With Wolny, Esteban and others graduating, I hope she gets the chance. The Cards will need a first baseman, why not Smithson Willett?


  5. GEICO PRESENTS!!! SHONI MADE TEAM USA!!! #8!!!!! --Umatilla23

    1. An outstanding selection! We'll have full coverage in the Monday Cardinal Couple. Bria and Sara, unfortunately...were not selected.


  6. You also cannot win games with only 3 hits as we did against UCLA regardless of how the pitching goes.

  7. JSW asked for release this morning......

    1. If this is true (and we have no reason to question the validity of the comment based on the location of the IP address) this is sad, indeed. Not only does Paulie lose his favorite player on the team...but Louisville is losing a great speed merchant, hitter and very pleasant young lady to talk to.


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