Hyde Park softball Manager John Carpenter returns for his 14th season at the school, collecting 221 wins along the way, and is confident his squad will again make the playoffs in 2017. Hyde Park returns 7 everyday players but just one senior, the multi-talented Nicholls State commit Kelsey Lowke. The three-time all-state and All Centex player splits time at third base and catcher and is “one of the best leaders (they’ve) ever had” at Hyde Park, says Carpenter. Do not be surprised to see Lowke spending much of her time at 3rd with the arrival of Avalon Sanchez behind the plate. The coaches are very high on the freshman and expect her to be an integral part of the team this season.
Also returning is all-district utility player, Katie Montoya. The junior plays a bit of shortstop and will probably see some time in the circle. Montoya picked up 4 wins last year(*) and will be another player expected to be a leader on and off the field.
The Hyde Park softball team enters 2017 with a different path to making a playoff run. Gone is heavyweight Reicher due to realignment. St. Michaels will not field a team so that leaves Hyde Park in a two-team district with St. Dominic Savio. The Panthers swept Savio last year and should be good enough to win district this year.
The Panthers have a nice mix of experienced players and underclassmen. If the two can gel come playoff time, we could see Hyde Park improve on their Area finals appearance from last year. Carpenter is one of the more experienced coaches in TAPPS softball and knows how to get the most from his players year in and year out. We expect the Panthers to win their district this season and are fully capable of making a run to the state tournament if they can avoid Fort Bend Christian, the early favorite to repeat as state champions.
With just two teams in the district, the Panthers are forced to play a few teams that might not normally appear on the schedule. Carpenter has scheduled well and will show us what kind of team he has in 2017 against the likes of UIL 6A Copperas Cove, San Antonio Christian, Liberty Hill, and participation in the Brentwood/Hyde Park tournament.
The Panthers open their season on February 6th at home versus San Antonio Christian.
Manager: John Carpenter (14th season – 221-74 record; 502-126 overall)
Coach(es): Ashley Aaron, Stephen Bratcher
2016 Record: 16-6 (2nd district)
Notable Alumni: Haley Chambers (Cornell)
* stats taken from Maxpreps