Loving the Chau-me state, Former Bronco thrives in SEC environment

Rodrick Anderson

The last two years have brought big changes for former Sam Houston High School softball player Casidy Chaumont.

After two seasons as a starter at Louisiana-Lafayette, she made the jump to the Southeastern Conference to play for the Missouri Tigers, moving nearly 800 miles from home looking for a new challenge, and made a big position change.

It has been nothing but success — national attention from highlight-reel catches and accolades for the junior, who has helped lead No. 8 Missouri to the NCAA Tournament super regional round and two wins from the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

“It has been awesome,” Chaumont said of playing in a super regional. “I am really looking forward to it. It is something I have never done. Having it at our home field and everyone cheering for us and being on our side is going to be incredible.

“We are sold out of tickets, so it is probably going to break the attendance record, I think. It is going to be super loud and super fun.”

Missouri (41-15) will host James Madison (37-1) in a best-of-three series starting at 8 p.m. today.

Chaumont said she thought she would be a utility player at Missouri, but one day she got the call to go to the outfield. The first play didn’t go as planned, but Chaumont quickly adjusted and has started in right and left fields this season, earning all-SEC second-team honors and twice featured on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” for a pair of spectacular diving catches, plus a few more in the SEC Tournament where the Tigers reached the semifinals.

“Line drives in the outfield look a whole lot different than in the infield. The infield you charge it and catch it,” Chaumont said. “Well, outfield, you need to first step back and realize if it is going to be over your head.

“So I went up for it, and I was like oh, it is over my head,” she said describing her first outfield play. “So I jumped up. I had to starfish and it went over my head and hit the wall.

“Now, I am getting some diving catches my way. I have made a lot of improvement. Coach Michaela Transue and the other coaches have really helped me figure out the outfield, so it is coming along.”

Adjusting to SEC play took time after being away from the sport for a year because of NCAA transfer rules. But Chaumont opened SEC play with an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .258 with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs, 20 RBIs and 26 runs scored.

“You don’t believe people when they are like it is the SEC,” Chaumont said. “It is bigger. It is different. There is more competition so you really have to step up, play your part and figure things out.”

The desire to play for Missouri associate head coach Chris Malveaux, who was an assistant during Chaumont’s freshman season at ULL, was part of the draw to Columbia. Malveaux was head coach at McNeese State from 2005 to 2008.

“After two years at ULL, I really like the program and like all the people, but I just felt like I needed to move on to newer things,” Chaumont said. “I wanted to follow Chris Malveaux because he has a certain swing he does, so I really wanted to get back in that groove of things and come up a little more north.

“This place actually has every season. Louisiana, it is hot year-round, and it gets a little chilly sometimes, but I really like the snow, which is really nice. The weather is just awesome and obviously the softball program. That is probably my favorite thing. Just the amount of fans, the amount of people you have cheering you on. The atmosphere is just incredible.”

””

Casidy Chaumont has thrived since transferring to Missouri and has become a defensive stalwart in the outfield.

Zach Bland / Special to the American Press

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