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February 5th, 2008
Texas State softball ready for another great season

By Michael Wright
Sports Reporter
SAN MARCOS — The Texas State women’s softball team will begin another great season on Saturday, February 9th. Their first game will be against Creighton and Tulsa at the Quality Inn and Suites Tournament hosted by North Texas. The `Cats finished 32-26 overall and 18-12 in the Southland Conference play last year. It was an exciting year that was highlighted by a 3-0 win at No. 18 Texas. They also advanced to the final day of the Southland Conference Tournament before falling to tournament champion Sam Houston State.The Bobcats will be led by Head Coach Ricci Woodard who begins her eighth season at the helm of the Bobcat softball program. Woodard has compiled an overall 266-147-1 (.643 winning percentage) record while going 143-42-1 in Southland Conference play. She is currently the all time win leader among Texas State softball coaches and has twice earned the Southland Conference Coach of the Year award. Texas State has appeared in seven straight Southland Conference Tournaments and two NCAA Tournaments. They last won a Southland Conference championship in 2002.

The Bobcats will be looking for another great year from their senior pitcher Ragan Blake. Blake, from Elkins High School was named Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year and Newcomer of the Year after going 26-15 with a 1.60 ERA in 46 appearances in 2007. The 26 wins tied for the third highest total in Bobcat softball history for one season. She struck out 242 batters in 258.2 innings pitched while limiting opponents to a .191 batting average. The 242 strikeouts ranks sixth on the single-season record list. She also threw 30 complete games and 10 shutouts. She reached at least 10 strikeouts in a game seven times, including a season-high 13 against McNeese State. Blake is the lone Bobcat on the Preseason First-Team Southland Conference Team that was voted on by coaches and sports information directors.

Other key players on the team will be Jill Kloesel (SR), Ryan Kos (SR), Jetta Weinheimer (JR), Ali McCormack (JR), Alex Newton (JR), Leah Boatright (SO) and Lacey Duncan (SO). Kloesel, the three-year letterman outfielder from Weimer is the leading returner in batting average (.294). She also finished with a .351 on base percentage. Kos, the two-year letterman second baseman from Magnolia scored 16 runs, hit 10 doubles, 3 home runs and had 7 stolen bases last year. Weinheimer, the two-year letterman outfielder from Fredericksburg hit .247, had 38 hits, 19 RBIs, 6 doubles, 1 triple and 6 homeruns. She also led the team with a .416 slugging percentage, 24 runs scored and 64 total bases. McCormack, the two-year letterman 3B/1B from Denton Ryan had a .352 on base percentage. Newton, a two-year letterman SS/3B from LaPorte scored 19 runs on 35 hits, had 16 RBI’s, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 52 total bases and 11 stolen bases. Boatright, the first baseman from Baytown Sterling finished last season with a .391 slugging percentage, scored 22 runs on 36 hits. She also had 26 RBI’s, 1 triple, 6 homeruns, 61 total bases and 4 stolen bases. Duncan, the outfielder from Klein high school finished last season with a .261 batting average, .379 slugging percentage, and a .364 on base percentage.

Texas State also signed four players (Chandler Hall, Fra’Shekia Knight, Megan Parten, and Allison Snow) to the 2008 recruiting class that should further strengthen the team. Hall, a pitcher from Barbers Hill High was named the 2007 District 21-4A MVP, and for the second straight season earned a spot on the TSWA All-State team. In the 2007 season she posted a 27-5 record with 330 strikeouts and also had a batting average of .450. Knight led Garland High to back to back 5A State championships in 2006 and 2007. Parten earned 24-4A first team All-district honors from the catcher position for Angleton High in 2006 where she also helped guide Angleton to back-to-back State 4A Quarterfinals appearances in 2005 and 2006. Snow will join the Bobcats from Stephenville High where she was awarded team MVP honors in 2006.

Texas States 2008 schedule will include some of the top competition from the Pac 10, Big 12 and Conference USA. The schedule includes a total of eight nonconference opponents who made the 2007 NCAA Tournament and half of the 2007 Women’s College World Series field. The Bobcats first home game will be on February 13 vs. Texas.

This season looks to be a banner year for the Bobcats. They have lots of returning talent, a good group on incoming players and Ragan Blake’s golden arm. The pre-season coaches and sports information directors’ polls show Texas State at #3 in both polls with the `Cats receiving 2 of the 11, 1st place votes in each of these polls. Bobcat Field will be the place to be this season, so be sure and catch all the action.

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