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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

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2024 Softball positional breakdown: Infielders

Texas+State+softball+line+up+during+the+Pledge+of+Allegiance%2C+holding+the+Texas+State+emblem+behind+their+backs%2C+Friday%2C+March+24%2C+2023.%26%23160%3B
Carly Earnest
The Texas State softball team lines up during the Pledge of Allegiance, holding the Texas State emblem behind their backs, Friday, March. 24, 2023, at Bobcat Softball Stadium.

The Texas State softball team is one of the strongest athletic teams in the school. Every year the team has a lot of pressure to perform well, considering it hasn’t suffered a losing season since 2014. Head Coach Ricci Woodard and the rest of the team have its sights on another successful season in 2024. Although any spot on the field is up for grabs with new players entering the school, let’s dive into the roster position-by-position.

 

Catcher

The Bobcats are carrying four catchers this year. Sophomore Megan Kelnar started 35 games at catcher last season as a true freshman and is aiming to start the majority of the time in 2024.

Kelnar threw out 12 out of 25 runners who attempted to steal last season, and was the only catcher in the conference to record double-digit caught stealings in less than 40 attempts.

Sophomore Karmyn Bass plays catcher as well, but she ended up playing as the designated player more often last year. Her defense is good, as she posted a perfect fielding percentage of 100% with 92 putouts. However, with Kelnar being arguably the best defensive catcher in the Sun Belt Conference, Bass will likely continue to fill the role of designated player and then catch when needed.

Other catchers on the roster include freshman Halee Vance and redshirt sophomore Makayla Hall.

 

First Base

Last year, J.J. Smith transferred to Texas State from the University of Texas and played first base in all 61 games of the season. She showed impressive plate discipline in 2023 as she walked the most of any Bobcat. Look for Smith to be the everyday first baseman in her senior season.

 

Second Base

As a true freshman, Katarina Zarate started in every game for the Bobcats at second base last season. She accumulated the second-most walks on the team; posting a respectable .355 on-base percentage. On top of having a great freshman year, she played even better when it mattered. In conference play, she hit .321 with a .435 on-base percentage and stole four bases in four attempts. She is only a sophomore, so she should be the starting second baseman for the foreseeable future.

 

Third Base

There is no question that Sara Vanderford will be the starting third baseman for the Bobcats this season. Vanderford, now a graduate student, has racked up many impressive accolades over the years. Among those accolades include making the All-Sun Belt First Team Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, 3x Sun Belt All-Tournament Team, and many more. She will go down in history as one of the greatest Bobcat softball players of all time, ranking second in program history with a batting average of .330. She is also second in Home Runs with 29, second in RBIS with 139 and first in doubles with 52. Vanderford is the biggest offensive star on the team and is expected to continue her great career.

 

Shortstop

Senior Hannah Earls was the only player on the team to play shortstop last season, so it’s likely she’ll be the starting shortstop this year as well. She was on the All-Sun Belt First Team selection in 2022 and put up better numbers in 2023. Last year she had the best batting average on the team, hitting .330. She is the only student-athlete in Texas State program history record three 20-stolen base seasons in a row. The Bobcats have a star in Earls, and she is looking to have another strong season in 2024.

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