Reicher Cougars 2016 Softball Preview
There might not be a bigger mainstay in the state final four at any level of softball in Texas than the Reicher Cougar team. Seemingly every season the Cougars end their season at the state tournament and 2016 should be no exception. Since 2004, the Cougars have failed to make the state tournament only once, falling in the regional finals that season. Reicher claimed state championships in 2010 and 2014 and will make a strong push for another title in 2016.
Three-time district coach of the year winner Andrea Holdbrook is back for her eighth season at Reicher. Holdbrook and the Cougars return six starters from a year ago and have added one transfer and a few freshman to the mix. Leading the way for Reicher will be senior pitcher Kylee Benton. A winner of just about every award TAPPS offers, including all-district, all-state, academic all-state, state all-tournament, and a spot on the Waco Tribune-Herald Super Centex team, Benton will be the key to Cougar success.
Junior Katie Young returns to give the Cougars a great left-handed option in the circle when not at first base while freshman Maddy Gonzalez will see time at pitcher as well. Jailene Gonzalez, a 4-year starter, returns behind the plate where Holdbrook hopes the young pitchers learn from the experienced catcher to grow up early and contribute come playoff time.
With the graduation of Kelsey Childs, the Cougars will have to find a replacement at second base. Freshman McKayla Young and Maddy Gonzalez could compete for that spot. The remaining infield positions are filled with experience in Katie Young, all-state shortstop Katie Guffey, and Taylor Slagle.
The Cougars will need to fill two positions in the outfield. All-district center fielder Lexus Cadena transferred to Waco High and all-district right fielder Megan Mendiola graduated. Sophomore Ana Watson, a transfer from Midway, should see immediate playing time in the outfield as should letter winners Katie Hutyra and Molly Bolfing. The lone returning starter in the outfield is all-district winner Kristen Jares.
Offensively, the Cougars will depend on the versatility down the lineup to produce runs against the state’s top pitching. Holdbrook gets the best out of her players and they often have a knack for performing at the highest level. To win state in 2016, the Cougars will have to win arguably the toughest league in private school softball. Reicher has normally scheduled tough teams to prepare the Cougars for a playoff run and 2016 is no different. The season starts February 16th at UIL 4A power Robinson. Reicher will also face China Spring, TAPPS 3A power Vanguard, and 5A Bishop Lynch.