UL’s Comeaux embraced her utility role with team

Lexie Comeaux doesn’t really care where in the field she plays or where in the lineup she bats — as long as she has the opportunity to help the University of Louisiana softball team win games is all that matters to Comeaux.

“Wherever they put me I just made sure to go 100 percent at it,” Comeaux said. 

That mentality has helped the 5-foot-6 senior become one of the Ragin’ Cajuns most valuable, and versatile, players. This season Comeaux has played in 51 games (42 starts), hitting .328, with eight home runs and 41 RBI. 

The former Tomball High School (Texas) star has accomplished all of that while starting at five different positions which includes designated hitter (22), catcher (11), right field (6), left field (2) and first base (1).

“I had never played outfield before,” Comeaux said. “There is so much you have to learn. So much that can’t be taught in a day. It is still a challenge every day I go out there. I still get a little nervous but it is really fun to play in the outfield. I enjoy playing out there.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns utility player will look to enjoy herself in San Marcos, Texas starting on Thursday as top seed UL (47-4, 25-0 SBC) begins Sun Belt Conference Tournament play against UL Monroe. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m.

“When I think of Lexie Comeaux I think of someone that is willing to do any single thing for our program,” UL second-year head coach Gerry Glasco said. “She is willing to sit out a game if that is needed. She will play any position I ask her to. She wants to win, she wants her team to win and is totally selfless.”

Comeaux displayed that team-first mentality early in her Ragin’ Cajuns career. 

After being redshirted her first season, Comeaux saw limited time as a pinch hitter the following season. The following January, due to the graduation of All-American Lexi Elkins and an injury to the projected replacement, Comeaux was thrown into the mix at catcher.

Even though she had played catcher in high school, Comeaux wasn’t expecting her role with the Ragin’ Cajuns to be behind the plate. Yet, that is exactly what happened.

“I was a little nervous about being a collegiate catcher at this level,” Comeaux said. “I caught a lot in high school so it wasn’t a huge surprise to me or learn a new position but it didn’t go down like everyone thinks it did.

“I just had some catching gear thrown at me and know one really asked,” Comeaux laughed. “It was more like ‘hey if you want to play then put it on’ So I can just geared up and went for it.”

Comeaux would beat out three other girls to earn the job and started all 55 games that season behind the plate.

“I remember being calm about the situation because what did I have to lose?” Comeaux said. “Everyone expected me to not be as good as Lexi. I really didn’t worry about being better than her. I just went out there and did my best.”

Comeaux would continue as the team’s starting catcher last season but in the offseason, the UL coaching staff approached her about a change. The Cajuns had Julie Rawls coming into the program and envisioned her as the new catcher.

“They approached me about during my exit interview during the fall,” Comeaux said. “They said that they were getting Julie here and that they were trying to turn into her catcher because she had such a good arm. 

“I wasn’t blind,” Comeaux added. “My arm was hurting last year. Plus, I want the best person on the field for that position so if she could do a better job than me then I was okay with that.”

Helping her make the adjustment from catcher to utility player was volunteer coach Geri Ann Glasco who tragically died prior to the start of the season in an automobile accident. 

“Geri Ann actually pulled me aside and said ‘you remind me a lot of me from my senior year,’” Comeaux remembered. “So she would come out there and hit me fly balls for about 30 minutes before practice. There would be no one else there. She helped me a lot.”

“We were really close,” Comeaux added. “We were really close in age. She was 24 and I am 23. I really related to her. She was fresh out of the game and just got done playing college. She was just so relatable to all of us. She was that voice of reason. It was really easy to be close to her.”

Not only did Comeaux embrace her new role on the team, she also gladly became a mentor to Rawls. The move paid off for both players as Rawls and Comeaux each earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors earlier this week.

“I knew in January that it wasn’t about me,” Comeaux said. “Whoever is the best player needs to be on the field. I knew Julie had a great arm but I had everything she didn’t have at that time. 

“I had that experience behind the plate and experience is your best friend in this game,” Comeaux said. “I knew she needed my help with learning all those little things in that aspect and that was my job.”

The entire experience of changing positions, mentoring a younger player and bonding with a volunteer coach has possibly opened a career path to her that Comeaux hadn’t imagined before. Comeaux is currently pursing her master’s degree in business administration.

“It’s actually been really cool and really easy for me to watch her be successful,” Comeaux said. “I have found that I really enjoy teaching this game.”