There is nothing quite so intimidating as facing a team of 21 athletes each with a heart for the game, except maybe facing those same athletes and knowing they have an uncommonly strong team chemistry.
What you may not know, however, is that those athletes are SHSU’s very own softball team. The LadyKats are seven games deep into their season, and while they have not yet posted a win, their play has shown great improvement from last year, and has been very exciting to watch.
Head coach Bob Brock said he has been very pleased with not only the performance of his athletes thus far, but also with their heart and enthusiasm.
“We’re learning a lot this season, learning something new with every game, and that is always a good thing,” Brock said.
According to Brock, the LadyKats are playing an incredibly difficult pre-conference season this year. The schedule includes some of the best teams in the nation, such as Arizona, University of Houston, Auburn and the University of Texas.
The LadyKats have already faced two teams nationally ranked in the top five, and had to face the Lady Longhorns on their home field in Austin. SHSU dropped both games of the Texas doubleheader 8-0.
“[Texas] is a really solid team and despite the losses, I was pleased with how we played,” Brock said. “My goal for those games was to have each of our pitchers go up against Texas, and we got to do that.”
Junior, Rachel Atzenhoffer made a very impressive showing, throwing five strikeouts in the three innings she pitched.
Junior infielder, Lindsey Kaltwasser is hitting well this season, posting a .455 batting average for the season so far. Lauren Boone and Sara Gatlin, both true freshmen, have also been playing big roles for the team, Brock said.
This weekend, the LadyKats will head to Houston to participate in Houston/ Hilton Plaza Tournament. The lineup will include Texas Southern University, University of Houston, Pittsburgh, Northern Iowa, and Southland Conference rival Stephen F. Austin University.
Brock said he and his players are ready for the challenge.
“We’re expecting to do well in this tournament, and we’re eager to get a look at SFA and get a little preview of what we’ll face in conference this year,” Brock said. “The team is also looking forward to competing with U of H. There is a bit of a rivalry between the two teams, and the game should be exciting.”
The tournament will be held at the softball field on the University of Houston campus.
On Friday. the LadyKats will face TSU at 3 p.m., followed by U of H at 5 p.m. The action will continue Saturday with the team taking the field at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., On Sunday, the LadyKats will face SFA at 11 a.m.
“We’re looking to elevate our game this weekend,” Brock said. “We’re excited about the competition and we are going to be ready.”