North Texas Softball Opens Fall Team Practice
Fall Schedule Features Eight Games Beginning Sept. 26
DENTON — With 11 new faces, the largest incoming class of head coach Tracy Kee’s 19-year coaching career, the North Texas softball team returns to the diamond for their first practice of the fall Friday. After welcoming the newcomers to campus in August, the team participated in weights, conditioning and small-group skills work starting in September leading up to the start of practice.
“We are incredibly excited to get this whole squad with our first practice Friday,” Kee said. “The last two weeks went very well with 11 new kids and really trying to figure out what positions are best for them and what will help this team win more games, in regard to utilizing our athleticism. The young kids have made huge strides, and the returners have been great leaders. It’s a matter of putting all the pieces together and seeing how it flows with the 16 kids out here, and we’ll start grinding it out.”
Returners Jami Schkade, Kelli Schkade, Stacey Underwood, Bryana Wade and Karly Williams are joined by eight freshmen and three transfers, giving the new-look Mean Green three pitchers and 13 position players entering the 2016 season.
“The chemistry on this team is fabulous,” Kee said. “These young kids came in high energy and hard working, and the returners have shown their leadership skills and have set examples with their hard work. The young ones were a bit overwhelmed at first, but they have made huge leaps and strides.”
After the first full week of fall practice, North Texas will begin its fall schedule Saturday, Sept. 26, against Midland College, the first of eight games against five different opponents during the fall, all at home in Lovelace Stadium, highlighted by a matchup with NCAA Super Regional participant Oklahoma on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
The Mean Green will also host doubleheaders against Weatherford College (Oct. 9), North Central Texas College (Oct. 16) and Trinity Valley Community College (Oct. 17).
“Whenever you’re playing in the fall, we want to see what our options are,” Kee said. “We have so many utility players on this team. Some kids are moving to the grass, while some are staying on the dirt. It’s just a matter of figuring out the right pieces and creating as many opportunities to get people in the lineup. With 16 kids, three of them being pitchers, that leaves 13 athletic kids for nine spots, so for us, they’re competing every day. This competition every day will benefit us come spring.”