Leslie Turk

Cajun softball in national spotlight

by Leslie Turk

Don't believe it when you hear sportscasters call UL Lafayette's softball program this year's "Cinderella" team in the Women's College World Series. Anyone who's been around knows the Cajuns left their Cinderella status behind years ago; ESPN 1420 AM's Jay Walker notes that the team's been ranked in the Top 20 for about the past two decades. And although it's taken a while for the rest of the country to come around, the national spotlight is now squarely on the Cajun program.

After yesterday's 3-2 win over No. 1 ranked Florida, the Cajuns have been all over ESPN, with All-American Holly Tankersley's solo home run off NCAA wins-leader Stacey Nelson in the eighth inning earning a spot as one of ESPN's Plays of the Week.

"I'm not surprised they beat Florida," Walker says. "I feel we're just as good." Walker calls UL freshman pitching sensation Ashley Brignac "unflappable," pointing out how she giggled after throwing 23 pitches to the Gators' Tiffany DeFelice in the bottom of the eighth, winning the battle when DeFelice finally popped up to centerfield after 19 foul balls. The poised freshman pitcher came back firing to secure the win, the last two batters popping up to shortstop Brooke Brodhead.

At 6 p.m., the Cajuns face fifth-seeded Texas A&M. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and broadcast on 1420 AM.