Christina HamiltonUL-Lafayette Softball, 2013-14 Corbett Award
In a year that featured across-the-board success for the UL-Lafayette Athletic Department, it is fitting that one of the Corbett Awards for the top amateur athletes in the state is being presented to a Ragin’ Cajun. Star softball player Christina Hamilton had a tremendous season and becomes the third UL-Lafayette softball player, and fourth softball player overall, to earn a Corbett Award.
Hamilton, the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, compiled a 29-4 record during a record-setting year for the Ragin’ Cajuns. After posting a 22-1 record during the regular season, she picked up two more wins as ULL won the Sun Belt Tournament Championship, three wins in the NCAA Regionals, including two against Texas, and finally two more in an NCAA Super Regional sweep of Arizona. Nine of her victories came against ranked teams, including both games in a doubleheader sweep of defending national champion, Oklahoma, nearly throwing a no-hitter in her complete game shutout in the first game. Louisiana, which was a No. 6 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, finished the year with a 49-10-1 overall record. In addition to earning Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year honors, Hamilton was also the Louisiana Pitcher of the Year and a Second-Team All-American.
Despite being a state softball Player of the Year at Rosepine High School in Leesville, the success didn’t come easy for Hamilton in Lafayette. While battling the higher level of collegiate hitters, she also was limited by a litany of injuries, from an appendectomy, to a leg injury to a knee injury, which cost her the entire 2012 season. As a sophomore last season, she pitched 35 innings, allowing 31 hits and 20 runs.
“When I got to (ULL) I sort of thought everything would come easy to me after high school,” Hamilton told the Lake Charles American Press. “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.”
After being projected as a reserve for this year, Hamilton turned into the team’s ace for the 2014 campaign.
“She now has more pitches in her repertoire along with the rise and her curveball. Now she’s able to change speeds, and her spin and rotation on the ball are up along with her command,” UL-Lafayette head coach Michael Lotief told The Advocate. “Naturally, (Hamilton) is also tougher, and she has certainly worked hard to get to this point. She has struggled and paid her dues to reach the culmination of the type of pitcher that we watched this weekend.”
“My mental process has developed a lot,” Hamilton said. “I came into the season not worrying about the here and now. I just wanted to pitch, no matter what,” she said.
In addition to the accolades and the victories, Hamilton made a name for herself due to her trademark glasses, thick, black-rimmed glasses without lenses – similar to Charlie Sheen’s Ricky Vaughn character from the movie Major Leagues. She started wearing the glasses in high school and Lotief supported the superstition.
“Every athlete has a superstition, something that gives them a good feeling,” Lotief said. “For (Hamilton), it’s the glasses. There was a time when she took them off. I told her to put them on. She’s more confident when she has them on.”
Story submitted by John Sudsbury of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.