By Aricia Flores
In Clearwater, Florida, the Bobcats will kick off their season at the 2020 NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic. The Bobcats will be up against the South Alabama Jaguars, Kentucky Wildcats, Auburn Tigers, Louisville Cardinals and the USA Olympic team.
The Bobcats are preparing to go up against Cat Osterman Feb. 9. Assistant head coach Osterman considers herself to be their “ultimate competitor.” News outlets have called the match up ‘Cat Against the Bobcats.’
Team USA is currently traveling in the “Stand Beside Her” tour. Osterman has been coaching the Bobcats for the last five years, but this season she will be taking a leave of absence to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. In the meantime, Paige McDuffee has been named interim assistant coach and pitching coach.
This game will not be an easy one, but with the work that the ‘Cats have been putting in practice and a head-start on the scouting report for Team USA’s pitcher, Texas State softball will show the world just what they’re made of.
In 2019, the Bobcats finished with an overall record of 29-25 and a conference record of 16-10. It was considerably a great season, and the Bobcats showed that they would continue to grow their skills into the new year. Texas State softball was picked to finish in fourth in the 2020 Sun Belt Conference softball preseason poll. While Feb. 7’s first competitor, the South Alabama Jaguars, were picked eighth.
Infielder Hailey Mackay and infielder Tara Oltmann were honored with Preseason All-Sun Belt Team recognition. Oltmann led the team with 41 RBI’s last season, and Mackay had the second-best batting average among Bobcats last season (.288).
“Anytime we get to go against the best of the best I am the first one ready to go,” Mackay said.
Starting pitcher Meagan King led the team in innings-pitched last season with 168.1 and settled on 85 strikeouts. Along with King, pitcher Delilah Barrera is returning for her final season, and in 2019 she led the team with 104 strikeouts.
The Bobcats introduced new players for the 2020 team that have transferred over from junior-college and division one schools to help capture a conference title once again. Outfielder Kylie George is a transfer from Texas A&M, and pitcher Brooke Blackwell is a transfer from Texas Tech. Blackwell missed her first season as a Red Raider due to injury.
The Bobcats will take on their Sun Belt foe, the South Alabama Jaguars and the Kentucky Wildcats on Feb. 7. The matchup against Osterman and Team USA will occur on Feb. 9 at 11 a.m.
Keep on the lookout for scores and updates on txstatebobcats.com.
Featured image courtesy of Texas State Athletics.