HEMPSTEAD — Hempstead High School third-year head softball coach Casie Westbrook knows there is not much success to the Ladycats’ program’s history.
And, she would like to keep that history where it belongs.
After a promising 8-5 pre-district COVID-19 stricken season in 2020, Westbrook has her team turning heads right out of the gate in 2021 with a squad that fields no seniors.
“We have some high expectations for this season, and we definitely think that our girls are going to rise to them,” she said. “We are an experienced but young team. We won’t have any seniors, but we have solid returners with the juniors and sophomores that will be helped by this freshman class that is well versed in softball.”
The Ladycats are coming off two wins Friday at the Anahuac Tournament. Sophomore pitcher Callie Haack no-hit a Port Arthur Memorial squad to start play. HHS won 16-0. Hempstead followed that up with a 19-2 win over High Island.
After opening the season with a 11-2 loss at New Waverly the Ladycats bounced back to win their next four out of five games at the Burton Tournament in late February.
HHS knocked off Schulenburg (10-2) and Sacred Heart (3-2) on the competition’s first day. The Ladycats smacked Brazos Christian (23-1) and Burton (18-0) on day two. Franklin stopped the winning streak on the last day of round-robin play, 2-1.
Westbrook said it was her pitching staff that impressed her the most. The Ladycats’ pitchers comprise junior Katelyn Howard, Haack, and freshman Jaiden Deese.
“All three pitchers did good,” she said. “We hit the ball fairly decent, but we need to work on hitting the ball better in key situations and not leave runners on base.”
The coach believes the Franklin loss will give the team something to draw on moving forward.
“It was a good learning experience. Our pitching was good, but it came down to hitting and executing in certain situations.”
December 18, 2020
Defensively the Ladycats were able to mix up their personnel.
“The girls played in different positions, and they picked it up quickly. We were sound for the most part.”
Westbrook knows that just getting to play an opponent is the vital part.
“We need the game experience to get us ready for district play coming up.”
Hempstead competes in the highly competitive District 24-3A against East Bernard, Hitchcock, Danbury, Brazos, Boling, and Van Vleck.
“We don’t know too much about the district since it is a new one, but we feel like we have so much unfinished business from last year that we are out to prove something in this new one,” the coach said.
Please visit www.hempsteadisd.org for the most updated HHS softball schedule due to COVID-19 related changes.