VYPE North Houston — February 2012
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TOP 5 GIRLS' SOFTBALL TEAMS

NO .1

THE OODLANDS HIGHLANDERS

National Champions and Class 5A State Champs The Woodlands High School enjoyed their best season in school history, finally breaking through the ceiling and winning their first-ever Class 5A state softball championship. En route, they were also crowned the nation’s No. 1 team after going 44-1 in 2011.

“This off season we’ve worked hard but we are really trying to get these girls back down to earth from last year,” coach Richard Jorgensen said. “People already don’t like The Woodlands and we get everyone’s best game. Now that bull’s eye just got a little bigger after winning state.”

Coach Jorgensen lost two starters from last year in Kelsey Jolly and Brooke Riemann, who will be starting at McNeese State and Blinn, respectively, but could also be without VYPE Player of the Year Paige McDuffee. McDuffee, who has committed to UCLA, had pitching arm surgery and could miss the entire season.

“We are hoping she gets back late in district, and it will be tough to replace what she means to us,” Jorgenson said. “But we should be really good.”

Picking up the pitching slack will be Caitlin Bartsch and freshman lefty Abby Langkamp, who has high expectations. Catcher Kayla Prater (UL-Monroe-commit) returns to manage the staff and provide senior leadership.

While the Highlanders leaned heavily on pitching a year ago, Jorgensen has a lethal lineup the will punish pitching staffs.

“Jessica Snyder (Houston-commit) doesn’t get the credit, but she was the most dangerous hitter in Texas high school softball a year ago,” he said. “She holds most of our school records for hitting and had 15 home runs a year ago.”

The middle infield is freakish with Alyssa Jorgensen (Houstoncommit) and Faith Bohack (ULMonroe) at second and shortstop, respectively. Newcomer Aubrey Leach could provide the speed in centerfield to complement the defense up the middle.

Taylor O’Dell (Galveston-Commit) and Taylor Vick (SFA-commit) will play on the edges of the outfield and will also be major contributors.

No. 2

THE MONTGOMERY BEARS

Reached the Regional Finals The Montgomery Lady Bears were a game away from reaching the state tournament, but fell to eventual state champs Santa Fein the regional finals. Gone are Brittany Clopton to Texas A&M, Bailey Chalmers to Baylor and Peyton Webb to Louisiana- Lafayette, so the Lady Bears will need to reload this season.

“We lost some great players from last year, but I feel that we have some girls that will be able to step in and play a valuable role,” coach Michelle Rochinski said. “I feel that we will be as competitive as we have been in the past.”

Anchoring the Bears is Cali Lanphear, who will either catch or play outfield this season. Lanphear will join former teammate Clopton at Texas A&M next year. Junior shortstop Devon Tunning (Texascommit) will play a huge role in Montgomery’s success this season, after she gets out of basketball.

Slinging the rock will be Katelyn Sanders and Morgan Skinner, while Texas Lutheran-commit Megan Armistead holds down secondbase. Ashley Webb will play first. “We will still rely on our speed and aggressive bats to have success this year,” she said. “Nothing has really changed.”

No. 3

TOM BALLCOUGARS

Reached the Regional Finals The Tomball Cougars were the only team to have taken a game from The Woodlands’ national championship team. While the Cougars fell in the regional finals to the Highlanders, Tomball is hungry to take the next step to the state championship tourney.

“I like our experience,” coach Benita Dunlavy said. “We have 13 seniors and most all of them have playoff experience. These kids have been on the brink for a few years and they want it. If everything clicks, I’m very encouraged about this season.

They want it and they have great chemistry coming into the season.” Leading the way will be catcher Kaitlyn Doerre, who had over 15 home runs a year ago. Sloan Walker provides the speed in centerfield and on the base paths along with Allie Piro. Kelsey Vincent will hold down the hot corner and Kandace Patek will be the ace on the mound. Sarah Huey will also defend up the middle at second base.

NO. 4

THE KLEIN COLLINSTIGERS

Fell to The Woodlands in the Area Finals

While the Klein Collins baseball team gets all the headlines, don’t fall asleep on the Lady Tigers softball team. The Tigers took The Woodlands to the brink in the area finals, falling 4-3 and 2-0 in the series. Things got a little testy during the games and it showed the fire of the Klein Collins’ program. They don’t back down.

Returning for Klein Collins are their top pitchers Taylor Grissom and Tayler Atkinson, who both posted great numbers. Angelica Gonzales (Sam Houston-commit) is the team’s leading returning hitter and will anchor third base. The outfield will consist of Jessica Borrego (Concordia-commit), Kelsey

No. 5

THE KLEIN BEARKATS

Fell in the First-Round to The Woodlands

While Klein was skunked by The Woodlands in the first-round of the playoffs, the BearKats shouldn’t feel that bad seeing that most of the state of Texas was trounced by the national champion Highlanders. Klein also is rooted in one of the toughest districts in the state with the likes of Tomball and perennial power Klein Oak.

With that being said, Klein returns a pair of stars to their lineup who should push them through district and deeper into the playoffs. University of Texas-commit Kelli Hanzel was the team’s leading hitter and ace on mound a year ago, and she should be even better with another season of tournament ball under her belt.

Joining Hanzel as the Klein headliner is sophomore Lindsey Cassel, who is a versatile athlete that plays behind the plate and in the outfield. Sophomores Hailee Rhodes and Avery Mullins also return after freshmen stints on varsity and should be more seasoned. Ayssa Bross, Maddi Aghamalian and Brooke Koppa will also add firepower to Klein’s young squad.
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