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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Softball

Column: Despite rough start, freshmen look promising for softball


WEB-Justin-Cross_DSC8375

Freshman Savannah Heebner is leading the Cougars in strikeouts with 20  and batting .387 for the Cougars offense. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

The softball team is a month into its season with a 9-10 overall, putting it on par with its 28-27 record from last season.

The Cougars’ most recent game was a 5-3 loss at home against the Texas Southern University Tigers on Sunday. UH will look to rebound when it begins an 11-game home stretch starting Saturday against Lipscomb University. The Cougars will also seek to improve their home-winning percentage, as they are only 4-5 at home.

Last season, Houston went 10-7 in the American Athletic Conference and lost to the University of Tulsa in the second round of the conference championships. The Cougars will get their first crack at revenge against Tulsa when it opens conference play against the Golden Hurricane March 24 to 26.

This season, Houston is 0-5 against ranked teams and will not get another opportunity until it plays the University of Arizona and Baylor University, who are No. 20 and No. 21, in back-to-back series starting April 8.

Despite these losses, the future is bright for the softball team. The Cougars have seven freshmen on the roster who have played in at least eight games this season. Four of the seven freshmen have a batting average over .300 in at least 30 appearances at the plate.

Freshman catcher Brooke Vannoy has a .320 BA, leads the Cougars in runs with 14 and has a record of 7-7 stealing bases. Vannoy has also started in every game she played in this season.

Elise LeBeouf, a freshman outfielder, has a .302 BA and leads the team in home runs and runs batted in. LeBeouf has 4 HRs and 14 RBI, which is twice as many as any other player on the team.

Another freshman outfielder, Maya Thomas, is averaging .356 at bat and has 13 runs, 7 RBI and seven stolen bases on the year.

Rounding out the freshman .300 batting average club is Savannah Heebner, who is hitting .387 from the plate. Heebner is a right-handed pitcher but has 31 plate appearances. At the plate, Heebner has 4 runs and 8 RBI. On the pitcher’s mound, Heebner has a 4.38 earned-run average and leads the Cougars with 20 strikeouts and 32 innings pitched.

While the Cougars may not be having the kind of season they had hoped for, the future certainly looks bright if the freshman talent can continue to develop.

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