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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sitting Down with Christi Orgeron

I don't know that there's ever been a player, in the entirety of the Sun Belt conference's association with the game of softball, as dominating and powerful as former Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns star Christi Orgeron. 

I do believe she is SAFE!
Although I never had the privilege of seeing Christi play in-person, I followed her career at ULL closely. Her name appears in the Cajuns record book more times than you could count in one sitting. She hit 70 career home runs and drove in 288 runs during her career. She ended her career with a .346 batting average, proving that she was much more than a power hitter - she could also pound out a base hit that stayed in the park. 

Defensively, she carried a career .965 fielding percentage, and only recorded ten errors through her entire career. In her senior campaign, she did not make a single error, recording a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

In 2012, she was selected #20 overall in the National Pro Fastpitch draft, selected by the USSSA Pride. She did not sign with the Pride, however, after she was named to Team USA. As you'll see about halfway through the interview below, she considered it a great honor to play for the red, white, and blue, and, honestly, I could not think of a player better suited to represent the United States at an international level.

You can find Christi on Facebook and be sure to follow her on Twitter @christiO_12.


Justin’s World: Has softball always been "your sport", or did you play and participate in others growing up?
Christi Orgeron: Growing up I mostly played soccer and softball. In middle school I also played basketball and volleyball. In high school, I competed on the swim team for a year, but my main focuses were soccer and softball.


JW: Who is your hero and how has that person's influence affected your play and development on the field?
CO: Outside of Jesus, my grandma is my hero. She was the strongest person I ever knew. She was one of those old school women who wasn’t afraid to work hard. She taught me how to be strong. One of the best lessons she taught me was to stay humble during the high points and don’t get to low during the low points. In a game where failure is inevitable, it’s easy to become discouraged, but this lesson gave me a lot of perspective.


JW: Why did you choose to go to school and play softball at Louisiana-Lafayette?
CO: I committed to go to ULL on my official visit. There something about Lafayette that felt like home to me. I remember sitting down with the coaches, and they told me they saw potential in me. They asked me what my goals for playing college softball were, and that they wanted to push me and challenge me to meet those goals. They didn’t just want to teach me how to succeed in softball though; they wanted to teach me how to succeed in life. When I met the girls on the team and saw how hard they worked and how much pride they took in playing for ULL, I knew that was a place I wanted to be.


JW: You're pretty much the epitome of a "slugger", but you also are very skilled at getting on base without the long ball. Such well-rounded players are rare. How did you attain such versatility and skill at the plate?
CO: I can attribute the majority of my skills at the plate to Coach Mike Lotief. He spent countless hours with me refining my swing and approach at the plate. He always challenged me to strive to be better. My first couple years I had some success with the long ball, but I struggled with consistency and strike outs. Through my five years at ULL, he really helped develop my mental approach to hitting which allowed me to make mechanical adjustments more efficiently.


JW: The Rajun Cajuns came very close to making it to the WCWS, eventually losing to the ASU Sun Devils in the Super Regional round last year. What was it like for you to come so close to reaching Oklahoma City in your final season, and just barely miss the cut?
CO: It’s so tough to put everything you have into something and come up just short of your goals. I remember sitting on the field after the final game, and just thinking about how I can’t believe it was over. It still amazes me how fast those 5 years went by.


JW: You were a big part of helping the ULL softball program gain some nationwide recognition in the past several years. Despite sporting single-digit losses at the end of the year and coming very close to making it to the World Series, the Cajuns still don't get a whole lot of notoriety. Why do you think that is?
CO: I think the ULL softball program has done a great job of establishing itself as one of the top programs in college softball. As much as I wish I could claim responsibility for that, the real foundation builders are the former players who put this program on the map through a lot of grit and hard work. The legacy of this program was built a long time ago with the players who came before us. It’s an honor to be able to be a part of this program and everything it represents. I believe the ULL softball program does receive a lot of notoriety because our ability to consistently show up to games and compete with all we got. I believe the legacy our program has built precedes our team into every game we play. When teams show up to play us, they know it’s going to be a fight.


JW: How excited were you when you found out that you were officially a member of Team USA?
CO: It was such a humbling feeling. Wearing the jersey with USA across your chest is an honor and a privilege. It’s was very rewarding feeling to know all the hard work and hours spent trying to get a little better helped me to reach my dream.


JW: There's been a lot of talk and discussion about getting softball back into the Olympics. Do you see that as a plausible option at some point in the near future?
CO: I hope it does get back into the Olympics. It’s such an honor to compete for this nation on a world stage. It will mean a lot to that next generation of softball players coming up to know they have the chance to compete for an Olympic gold medal.


JW: Describe what it's like to go out on the field and play with "USA" across your chest.
CO: It’s almost indescribable. When I put on that jersey and look in the mirror, I want to ask someone to pinch me because it feels like a dream. I can’t express the humbling feeling I get knowing what I have the honor of representing. Then I look at my teammates and we know we are a small part of something so much bigger than us. It’s a great feeling being able to represent this country and play the game I love.


JW: Last season, you were selected in the NPF Senior Draft by the USSSA Pride. Despite the fact that you never put on a Pride uniform, what was it like to get the news that you had been drafted?
CO: I was very honored to be selected by the USSSA Pride. They have an excellent program, and I was humbled to be selected to be a part of it. I have the upmost respect for their program and all they have been able to accomplish.


JW: Playing for the Pride in the NPF obviously did not happen last year, but there are a number of professional softball fans who would love to see you become a part of the league. Do you have any aspirations or desire to play in the NPF at some point?
CO: I never say never, I love the game and I love being able to compete.


JW: What's your all-time favorite movie quote?
CO: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”-Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own


JW: If you could have any super power imaginable, what would it be?
CO: I would really like to be able to fly. I think that would be pretty cool.


JW: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have three things with you, what would you carry along? Boats and telephones are off-limits.
CO: My Bible, my guitar, and a BBQ pit.


JW: Say you were Aladdin and the genie agreed to grant you three wishes. What would you ask for?
CO: A million more wishes, the ability to sing like Mariah Carey, and that every kid would have a home and family that loved them.

5 comments:

  1. I was lucky enough to meet and watch her play for team usa at OKC. She treated my family as if they were related. wish their was a big league for women's softball, she would be the first one I would pick in the draft.

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  2. Christi is the best of the best!! Glad you got to meet her! :)

    There actually is a professional softball league, and Christi was selected in their draft, but the pro season runs concurrent with Team USA's games, so she had to pick one or the other. :/

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  3. Christi is a class act! I had the pleasure of watching most of her games for her first three years at ULL, as my daughter (Lana Bowers) was one year ahead of her. As she is a good friend of our family, I continued to follow her career thru her play with USA and even got to watch her play in OK City. I can tell you that I have seen her hit grounders thru the infield that were so hot that they bounced 10 feet in the air when they hit the fence. She is the only one that I have seen who hit the ball as hard as Holly Tankersly.
    Most important, she is a sweet young Christian lady.

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  4. Good thing there's a caption under the picture. It was really a bad slide, but thank goodness her uniform covered most of her body. She'll definitely have bruises or scratches in her arms. Anyway, I didn't know her personally or haven't watch her play but with all the reviews I've read, she's definitely a good one and I want to see her playing in the field.

    Jennine Stalder @ UESports.com

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  5. Christi's like a daughter to us! She played high school ball at Mount Carmel with our daughter Lauren! She's a great person, and a ridiculous softball player! We continue to pray for her and wish her all the best!

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