Texan softball eager for second Division I season 

By: Sydnie Grossnickle

Staff Writer

Tarleton State University’s softball team begins their 2022 campaign in less than a month. Head Coach Mark Cumpian leads the Texans into their second NCAA Division I (DI) season as a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC.) 

Since last year, the Texans have improved their roster by bringing in heavy-hitting newcomers that complement the returners. The program’s schedule will be a can’t-miss challenge for the Texans. 

“We’ve been able to figure out what we need to do to win at this level. I think the first year was kind of a learning experience,” Cumpian said.

The returners make up 16 spots on the roster. 

“We were going to go through some growing pains, and they kind of had to go through them with us,” Cumpian said. “Now this year, I feel like they are going to reap the benefits.”

Outfielder Georgia Capell and infielder Katy Schaefer are among those who will reap the benefits.

Georgia Capell single sparks rally against WAC for California Baptist University.
Photo courtesy: Athletic Communications Intern, Toby Rhodes

Capell, a senior, will return for her fifth season with the Texans. During the 2021 season, she ranked in various categories in the WAC. Capell ended 2021 with eight home runs, a 0.276 batting percentage, a 0.382 on-base percentage and a 0.506 slugging percentage. 

Schaefer, a sophomore, transferred last year from Houston Baptist University. During her first season with the Texans, she ranked among the top 10 of the WAC for runs batted-in and home runs. The Sweeny, Texas native concluded the 2021 season with a 0.298 batting percentage, 0.367 on-base percentage and a 0.503 slugging percentage. 

Pitchers Tristin Bridges and Julia Wernet are also returning for the Texans. 

Bridges, a junior, is entering her fourth season as at Tarleton. She also found success on the WAC rankings in 2021. The left-handed pitcher ranked No. 1 for games started with 27, No. 2 for innings pitched with 164 and No. 6 for total strikeouts with 92. 

She concluded last season with an earned run average of 4.74. 

Wernet, a right-handed pitcher, is going into her fifth season with the program. Last year, the senior found herself among the WAC rankings with her teammates. Wernet ranked No. 8 for appearances with 29 and No. 6 in innings pitched with 119.1. The West, Texas native had 51 strikeouts and caught four runners. She finished the 2021 season with an earned run average of 5.75. 

Cumpian emphasizes the impact that the incoming Texans will have. The roster has a lot of transfers that students can expect to see on the field. 

Among the transfers is Amanda DeSario from Keller, Texas. The outfielder transferred to Tarleton from Texas Tech University. The sophomore could not practice in the fall due to an injury but is now ready for the season ahead. 

“She [DeSario] is a very athletic and dynamic player that I think will help us right away,” Cumpian said.

The program has two impressive Memphis transfers onboard for the 2022 season, including catcher Brady Rowland and dynamic right-handed pitcher Chyanne Ellett. 

“Brady is somebody who is a really good field general and is going to help us behind the plate this year, but she brings a big back,” Cumpian said.

Transfers make up a lot of the 2022 Tarleton pitcher roster. Along with Memphis transfer Ellett, the Texans welcomed Reagan Chism from Stephen F. Austin State University and Hannah Mayo from Texas A&M University. 

The Texans have five true freshmen this year. 

“I feel like right now there are two of them that you’re going to see a big impact, and that is Tristyn Trull and Austin Germain,” Cumpian said.

Both first-year players are from Texas and are infielders. 

The Texans’ schedule is full of high-caliber teams, including Power Five teams like Baylor University and Syracuse University. They will also face mid-major programs, including North Dakota State University and the University of New Mexico.

“I think it is always exciting to go up against and play some of the Power Five teams,” Cumpian said.

The Texans’ season begins away on Feb. 11 at the Furman Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. Tarleton will face Furman, Bellarmine, North Dakota and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in tournament play.

Tarleton softball’s home opener begins on Feb. 18 for the Whataburger Softball Invitational. The Texans will go head-to-head with Syracuse, Prairie View A&M, Alabama State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. 

Conference play will begin on March 11 with a home game against WAC foe Sam Houston State University. 

“We have 23 home games, but what fans should know is this team is very dynamic, and I feel they have a chance to be very good. I think they bleed purple, and I always look at them and see true Tarleton people,” Cumpian said.

To learn more about Tarleton softball, visit https://tarletonsports.com/sports/softball.

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