LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech softball program began preparations for its 2018 season on Thursday with the start of preseason practices under fourth-year head coach Adrian Gregory inside the indoor facility at Rocky Johnson Field.
"There is no feeling like the first day of practice,” Gregory said. “I think our kids are ready to hit the ground running, and I think they’re ready to show what they have. Our kids have been excited to come back and do their thing.”
The Red Raiders, who will return to classes next week, are four weeks from opening their fourth season under Gregory as Tech heads to College Station, Texas, for the Aggie Classic Feb. 9-11 where they’ll see Boston College, Houston and Texas A&M.
Gregory returns nine players who have lettered at Texas Tech while welcoming seven signees and a pair of transfers in Taylor Satchell from LSU and Heaven Burton from Louisiana-Lafayette.
The list of returnees includes three pitchers in senior Cheyene Powell and sophomores Kassidy Scott and Hannah Broseman. Scott led the Big 12 in starts and appearances throughout conference play as a freshman. She tossed 183.2 innings, including eight complete games while compiling a team-best 4.23 ERA.
The Red Raiders also bring back several position players that contributed in 2017, including a pair of starters in Jessica Hartwell and Kiana Workman. Hartwell broke onto the scene as a sophomore as she led the team in several categories while becoming the only Big 12 player to finish with double-digit home runs and 12-plus doubles.
“We have a great junior class,” Gregory said. “It’s a group of people that are really stepping into the leadership role, embracing and relishing it. They know it’s their turn to move the ship.”
With the departure of the largest senior class in team history, Gregory added seven freshmen to the fold for the 2018 season, including Erin Edmoundson, Claire McKissick, Kelcy Leach, Olga Zamarripa, Breanna Russell, Myamie Thompson and local product Marissa Mirabal.
“It’s so fun to have the energy of the youth and the athleticism,” Gregory said. “We’ve gained so much athleticism at every position, and we have a ton of depth. It’s fun to watch the competitiveness and watch them dual it out for a position.”
The Red Raiders will also add a pair of outfielders to the mix who redshirted in 2017 due to injury. Sophomore Karli Hamilton, who started 27 games as a freshman in 2016, returns and freshman Michaela Cochran will suit up for the first time in 2018 as a Red Raider.
Gregory will once again test her squad with a challenging schedule that includes 17 contests against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, including three that advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Tech hosts 20 games at Rocky Johnson Field, including Big 12 series with Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State.
For everything Texas Tech softball, be sure to follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@TexasTechSB) and like them on Facebook. Stay locked in to www.TexasTech.com for news and information on the 2018 season.