North Texas Softball Begins Fall Practice

DENTON, Texas (9/7/11) - The North Texas softball team began fall practice this week and in addition to the newcomers, there is a new sense of unity within the Mean Green.

"Everyone is very determined," said senior Caitlin "Curly" Grimes. "We are very committed to this season. Our coaches are trying to stress more of a sense of unity, working as a unit, instead of an individual feel. That is one thing as a senior this year that I want to stress. On the field, there is a form of respect, but we all deserve to be here. We are one unit working together. And I really like that."

Grimes is one of five seniors on the team that is determined to make the 2011-12 season memorable. The Mean Green is looking to rebound from a 22-30 record and a ninth-place finish in the Sun Belt Conference in 2011. Grimes wants to move on from last year.

"The new year means a new start. We have the talent to have a great season."

Another new factor on campus is Apogee Stadium, the new football stadium that is located next to the athletic center and across the street from the softball facilities. The North Texas student-athletes have had a different introduction to the stadium than the average fan.

"Our first day back, we had a 6 a.m. workout, we ran the mile and then we went to the stadium," said Grimes. "We got to know every one of those stairs. That wing especially. There are a 100 steps up to top of the wing, and we did that a couple times. It was a welcome back."

Every fall season, head coach T.J. Hubbard's goals are similar. He wants to get the freshman and transfers acclimated and ready for the spring season. This year is no different except that he is focused on getting the freshman and sophomores game-ready.

"Last year's freshman class didn't get a lot of game time so I think it is important that the freshman and sophomore classes are ready to play because we will need them in the next couple years," said Hubbard. "They will need to take over when our current senior class leaves."

The Mean Green has a combined 11 freshman and sophomores on the roster. Only sophomores Ashley Kirk and Brooke Foster saw considerable time last year. Kirk set the single-season strikeout record as a freshman, and Foster was named second-team All-Sun Belt for her play at third base.

The fall schedule looks a little different than in years past, and Hubbard is excited about it. The Mean Green usually plays a lot of home games, hosting mostly two-year schools. In October, North Texas travels to College Station to play Texas A&M and Sam Houston State. The Mean Green also plays UTA in Arlington on Oct. 20.

"Playing against stronger competition, we can see right away what is going on instead of having to wait to February," said Hubbard.

North Texas closes out its fall schedule with four home games against the alumni, North Central Texas College, Western Oklahoma State College and Seminole State College.



North Texas Mean Green