A graduate of Rosepine High School, UL-Lafayette pitcher Christina Hamilton has overcome adversity to lead the Lady Cajuns into the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:18 PMOne glance at those lens-less glasses — reminiscent of Charlie Sheen’s character Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in “Major League” — and you’re likely to not take Louisiana-Lafayette junior pitcher Christina Hamilton seriously.
That is until you’ve watched the Rosepine High School graduate in the circle, where she’s led the Lady Cajuns by example this season going 29-2 with a 1.53 ERA. The now-ace of coach Michael Lotief’s team figures to be the hand ULL (49-8-1) relies on when they face Kentucky (49-17) tomorrow at 6 p.m. in their opening game of the Women’s College World Series, held in Oklahoma City.
“She’s gonna throw her game,” ULL coach Michael Lotief said. “She’ll do what made her successful all year.
“It’s too late at this point to change anything drastically.”
Hamilton, a star pitcher at Rosepine, has battled throughout her college career to get to this moment. She’s bided her time behind other staff aces and endured a torn ACL in 2012 which forced her to take a medical redshirt. Even at the start of the year she expected to sit behind Jordan Wallace, who entered the spring as the Sun Belt Conference’s reigning Pitcher of the Year.
However, despite her record, Wallace ran into control issues which forced Lotief to look Hamilton’s way. She’s responded by holding opposing hitters to a .191 batting average and stacking up 183 strikeouts in 2241⁄3 innings pitched on her way to being named this season’s SBC pitcher of the year.
“It took her longer to get back physically to the way that she was before,” Lotief said of the ACL injury. “But it also gave her time to get the motivation back and to find the fire in the belly for her to be the best.”
Hamilton speaks of an adjustment from the high school level, where she struck out over 1,000 batters in her final two seasons at Rosepine.
“When I got to (ULL) I sort of thought everything would come easy to me after high school,” Hamilton said. “There were the struggles of sitting and then the ACL tear; my mind really wasn’t in the right place to handle it.
“It’s been a fun journey for us. There were struggles to find myself; once I started to find myself in life it started to carry over to softball. It’s been fun to be a part of this journey.”
Hamilton shows her personality through the glasses she wears in the circle. She describes them as being “purely fun” and despite the bigger stage, has no plans to break out a new pair in Oklahoma City.
“Why change anything now,” she said.
Hamilton’s successes have gone beyond Lafayette. While the glasses have gotten her noticed nationally through social media and blogs, the low-key has gotten local love from her hometown, Leesville.
“It’s been great,” she said. “Some of my old teammates (from Rosepine) contacted me and congratulated me. We have the best fans, so it’s good for us and the community.”
Hamilton’s success — and glasses — are part of the Lady Cajuns’ narrative heading into tomorrow’s game. So much so, that even Lotief would consider taking on himself if the Cajuns brought home a national championship.
“Why not,” Lotief said. “Softball’s not like baseball. If you show emotion in baseball it’s taboo. In softball, we celebrate home runs and strikeouts. It’s something she has fun with. It’s not disrespecting the game; it’s her.
“It’s part of her personality and her expressing herself. In our sport that’s a good thing.”
Posted By: Kiss our L goodbye On: 5/29/2014
Title: LOUISIANA SOFTBALL