This season it’s a far different looking team then last years starting at the top. Gone is longtime head coach Connie Clark and the arrival of former Oregon head coach Mike White to take over the reins of the team.
Coach White also brought several of his star Oregon players along with him to Texas including RHP Miranda Elish, outfielder Shannon Rhodes and utility player Lauren Burke.
The make up of this year’s team includes nine players from last season that played in at least 50 games. Those players are Janae Jefferson, Kaitlyn Washington, Brooke Bolinger and Taylor Ellsworth. The Longhorns also have a six-member class made up of five freshmen and one transfer to the team.
With the departure of graduating senior Paige von Sprecken who came into her own last year and Erica Wright who decided to leave the game, Texas will be counting on transfer ace Elish and returning LHP Brooke Bolinger. Along with Sophmores RHP Chloe Romero and RHP Ariana Adams along with freshmen RHP Shealyn O’Leary to handle the pitching duties this season.
Last year the team had problems stringing hits together especially in key situations. This year 13 total letter winners that combined to total 84% of the runs, 81% of the hits, 71% of the doubles, 80% of the HR’s, 77% of the RBIs, 86% of the walks and 92% of the stolen bases will be returning with another year under their belt that should give them a better batter’s eye. Along with several incoming freshman who they hope will have an immediate impact on the teams offensive game.
Last year Texas made the playoffs and got placed in the Seattle Regional where they won their first game vs. Minnesota 2-1 before losing to host team Washington 1-2. Then in an elimination game lost to Minnesota 0-3 to end their season.
There’s a lot of new parts to this year’s Texas team that could take a year to come together but under the coaching of Mike White I look for that not to be a problem and look for them to have a good season concluding with a deep run in the playoffs if it all comes together for them.