Gatesville’s 2013 season ended with a pair of defeats, but the Lady Hornets lost more than a playoff series last May.
Then-No. 7 Burkburnett ended Gatesville’s first trip to the postseason since 2009 and concluded the tenure of former head coach Crystal O’Brien, who stepped down from the position in order to focus more attention on her growing family.
O’Brien’s resignation opened the door for Chris Sommerfeld to inherit the program, and the former coach at Troy and Bellville has a bounty of returning talent to work with.
Despite graduating five of their top players, the Lady Hornets, who went 20-16 last season, still possess lots of firepower, highlighted by junior catcher Blayne McGhee, who was named District 8-3A MVP after collecting 14 hits in 34 at bats, including four home runs, tallying 17 RBIs and scoring 18 runs in district.
The outburst occurred after McGhee spent a majority of Gatesville’s nondistrict portion of the schedule rehabilitating from labrum surgery on her throwing arm.
Junior pitcher Evan Edmiston is the Lady Hornets’ only other returning all-district first-team selection, but sophomores Makenzie Winkler and Shaley Sutton provide ample experience for their age. Winkler was placed on the all-district second team last year.
Juniors Maddi Sims and Mona Lewis are also returning to the team after helping the program finish last season with an 8-2 run through district. The Lady Hornets’ only losses came against state-ranked Liberty Hill, which ended the regular season second in the polls. The Lady Panthers open the 2014 season ranked sixth.
Gatesville begins its season Wednesday at Temple and starts district play March 14 at Lampasas.