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Tarleton softball at the Texas A&M Invitational


Allison Roberts

Katy Schafer playing against Texas Western College on March 30, 2022

As the spring starts back up again and the days get warmer, it will soon be time for softball season to come back. The Tarleton softball team is starting the season back with an opener at the Texas A&M Invitational. 


In 1994, Julia Garcia started the softball program and was the first head coach at Tarleton State University. As Tarleton played their first home game, they won that game with a doubleheader against Schreiner College 3-2 in nine innings. After, Julia Mata was named as the second head coach in the program. During her time as a coach, Tarleton qualified for the Lone Star Conference Championship Tournament and earned the biggest upset in the program as the TexAnns defeated No. 3-ranked and defending national champions. In 2016, Mark Cumpian was named the third head coach. As Tarleton State University entered the NCAA Division I ranks and accepted the membership into the Western Athletic Conference, also known as WAC, renovations were made to the Tarleton softball complex and the locker rooms. 


The 2023 softball season is held by Mark Cumpian. He served as an assistant coach from 2011-2016 and took over the Tarleton softball program in 2017. He was the first coach to qualify for the NCAA postseason as head coach, and led Tarleton past the nation’s No. 1-ranked team. In his second year of coaching, he led Texans to one of the nations best turnarounds and took a 30-win campaign at a Division I level and qualified for the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC).


A few players will be returning, starting with the outfield – Alexis Hoang, Amanda DeSario, and Ashlee LaRue. Hoang is a senior at Tarleton as she has helped Tarleton qualify for the National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC) and the first postseason berth. There are a few new outfielders, Kaylin Ortner, Kayla Wallace, and Kelci Hill. Hill is currently a junior at Tarleton where she transferred from Middle Tennessee State as she was the team’s leading hitter and career batting average of a .15. 


With the infield, a few returners come back – Morgan Medford, Austin Germain, Tristyn Trull, MacKenzie Peterson, Jordan Dickerson, Makayla Romeo, Katy Schafer, and Bella Hernandez. Hernandez is currently a sophomore at Tarleton, where last season she recorded her first career hit against Abilene Christian. A few newbies include Hannah Reed and Kiana Gibson. Gibson originally came from Vernon Junior College as she tallied 23 HR and 90 RBI in her two-year career, along with being named All-Region and All-Conference First Team. 


There are a few softballs in the air, but Brady Rowland and Brittany Coe can catch them as they are returning back. Coe had her first career home run come in a dramatic way as she blasted a two-out and threw out five base runners at Tarleton. 


For Paige Nunes, she has returned back again as a utility player. Last season, Nunes made a splash in her first collegiate action by stepping in as a pinch hitter and delivering a go-ahead, two-run double against Abilene. Two new transfers, Sage Harlow and Hayden Fox, are becoming the new utility members. Harlow came from Grayson County College where she made a career highlight where she went 8-8 across two games with three home runs, a double, a triple, and 15 RBI. 


Lastly, where the returners – Tristan Bridges, Kennedy Ferguson, Mackenzie Dunbar, and Reagan Chism – come back to take the pitch of the game. Ferguson led the team last season with a 2.95 ERA and struck out 45 in 40.1 innings of work. A few new pitchers come in the cut: Grace Garcia, Kendall Daniel, Madison Collins, and Sophia Herrera. Herrera is a freshman at Tarleton where at McPherson High School, she led her team to the first undefeated league championship in school history and first regional win in ten years. 


The ladies started off the new season at the Texas A&M Invitational where they played four games on Feb. 9-12. The Tarleton softball team played the Aggies on Feb. 9, where they took a loss of 12-2. The next day on Feb. 10, they played Michigan State. They put up a great fight, but were down by one of 4-5. On Saturday, they played against Northern Kentucky, and they took up a great show where the Tarleton softball team won 6-5. 


The Tarleton Softball team is having a Tarleton Invitation on the Tarleton Softball Complex on Feb. 17-19. They go against Crieighton, Northern Colorado, Texas A&M Commerce, and Akron. For more information on the games and updates go to https://tarletonsports.com/sports/softball?path=softball.