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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Softball

Softball looks to carry success over from last season


Senior Savannah Heebner led the Cougars pitchers in the 2018 season with 237 innings pitched and 150 strikeouts. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

 

Coming off of a second consecutive second-place finish in the American Athletic Conference standings last season, the Cougars’ softball team will be looking to improve upon that this season.

Head coach Kristen Vesely has led the team to an improved record in each of her first two seasons at the helm after she took the position before the 2017 season. In order to achieve that feat again, the process will begin with the Cougars’ fall camp, where Vesely will evaluate a team that will return most of its roster.

The team started its fall camp yesterday with a pair of scrimmages. It lost the first one against Texas Tech 5-4, but finished its second against Lamar 5-2 after rain cancelled the game in the fourth inning.

“We want to see where our returners are, and we want to see where our new players are coming into the fall,” said Vesely, “and that will let us know where we need to improve the most heading into the spring.”

One of those returners, All-American Second Team senior pitcher Savannah Heebner, has a different goal for the fall. She wants to go undefeated in the team’s eight fall games, a dream that was dashed on Saturday when the Cougars fell 7-0 to Texas Tech. Even though her wish for a perfect fall record are gone, Heebner has a more personal goal.

“I’m just trying to fine tune my pitching because that’s mainly why I was recruited here. I’m a hitter as well but pitching is my priority. Hitting and playing first base, that’s secondary for me,” said Heebner.

One thing that Heebner and junior infielder Sarah Queen agree on is that the continuity of this team will be a huge boon this season.

12 members of this team are upperclasswomen and Queen points to the collective experience and camaraderie that this team possesses as being an important factor in winning games.

13 players were named to the Easton/NFACA All-American Scholar-Athlete list. Vesely points to that list as evidence of the dedication that her players show in the classroom as well as on the field.

Vesely believes that dedication can help the Cougars rack up wins this season and help propel them to a conference title and a postseason push in 2019.

Softball has one last scrimmage on Oct. 10 in a doubleheader against San Jacinto College before it wraps up the first part of its fall camp.

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