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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State softball adds versatility with six recruits

The+Bobcat+softball+team+huddles+together+before+the+game+against+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%2C+Tuesday%2C+April+6%2C+2021%2C+at+Bobcat+Stadium.+The+Bobcats+won+7-6.

The Bobcat softball team huddles together before the game against Texas A&M, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. The Bobcats won 7-6.

Texas State softball was rewarded for its postseason berth last season as six new student-athletes signed to the program in November. 
Outfielders Sydney Harvey and Emilee Baker, catchers Karmyn Bass and Megan Kelnar, infielder Braylin Pannill and utility Kamden Hutton are the six high school students that make up the 2022 Texas State softball signing class. Head Coach Ricci Woodard believes this signing class reflects the name the softball program has made for itself.
“I like this group because they have a lot of different versatility to them,” Woodward said. “They’ll be fun to watch in a lot of different positions throughout the next few years.”
Outfielder Sydney Harvey is an athlete capable of playing both outfield positions and the middle infield. Harvey, a multi-sport athlete in high school, was named a team captain and 29-5A District Defensive Player of the Year as a junior.
Outfielder Emilee Baker was named offensive most valuable player and newcomer of the year in her district. Woodard expects her running and slap hitting ability to be valuable both at the top of the lineup and in the outfield.
“She does a lot of things well with the bat,” Woodard said. “Emilee Baker is going to come in and probably see some time at the top of the lineup early in her career.”
Catcher Karmyn Bass is a two-time all-district academic selection who was named District 10-4A Most Valuable Player her freshmen year. She has a knack for working with pitchers, which is shown by her District 13-5A Defensive Player of the Year award she won as a junior.
“Karmyn is going to come in and help us behind the plate and add some depth to that position,” Woodard said. “I think she’ll help with the battery early on in her career.”
Catcher Megan Kelnar is a 6A powerlifting state qualifier and three-time academic all-district selection. Woodard expects her hitting ability and speed to play both in the outfield and behind the plate at catcher.
“I feel like she’s going to be one of those players who can help us behind the plate right away and, hopefully, help us out in the outfield,” Woodard said. “Megan Kelnar can do a lot of things for us.”
A standout of this class is utility Kamden Hutton. With positional versatility valuable, Hutton, named the 8-3A District Offensive MVP, is capable of playing multiple infield and outfield positions. Because of her defensive adaptability, she’ll certainly get a lion’s share of starts at multiple different positions, but Woodard said she doesn’t know completely where she’ll fit into the picture.
“We’ve seen her play shortstop, we’ve seen her play third base, she runs well, she moves well,” Woodard said. “Defensively she’ll be able to come in and play anywhere because she just has great hands and can do a whole lot.”
Another standout of this class is infielder Braylin Pannill. As a junior, Pannill broke Georgetown High School’s records for career home runs and RBIs. With Texas State ranking fourth in the Sun Belt Conference in team home runs last season, Pannill is a player who Woodard expects to help with team power numbers.
“Some kids are line-drive hitters, some kids are there to produce power, and she’s one where we’re looking to produce power,” Woodard said. “If we can take that bat and translate it into D1 college softball level and get that same production from her in the next couple of years, that would just be icing on the cake.”
One thing each of these six recruits share is a love for softball. It’s this passion for the game that excites coaches Paige McDuffee and Woodard about this signing class as they continue to build on the softball program’s winning culture.
“These are a group of athletes who love to be at the field and love to work at it,” McDuffee said. “That’s been shown at our camps in the way that they play and the way that they approach the game … that’s the type of culture we’re trying to build at Texas State.” 
These signings come in the wake of key players such as infielders Tara Oltmann and Hailey MacKay and outfielder ArieAnn Bell graduating in 2021. McDuffee said that the signing of these new recruits is planned out two to three years in advance to fill the holes left by graduating seniors.
“We’ll take a look at the positions that are graduating at this time and this year,” McDuffee said. “It’s all based on graduating classes.”
Texas State softball fans can expect to see the 2022 signing class in action next fall and spring. This signing class has proven high school softball players who have racked up a hefty set of accolades and awards, but for Woodard, it’s just a matter of doing her job as head coach to make sure these players develop.
“If we did our job, you’ll see them as freshmen,” Woodard said. “If they’ve got to develop a little bit more, it may take until their junior or senior year.”

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