First pitches in softball were tossed around the state last Friday with the first authorized team practice of the 2023 season. In Wharton County, four teams made the playoffs last season and Louise will be looking to join them this year.
East Bernard and El Campo both came a series win away from playing for the regional championship in their respective classifications last year.
Softball will be a little harder for El Campo this year after a move to Region IV during this latest round of realignment. El Campo’s new district will include Needville, the winner of a state championship in the past decade. The rest of the district line up is Bellville, Sealy, Wharton, Royal and Navasota.
Louise’s district remains unchanged, they are still a part of one of the toughest districts in UIL regardless of classification with Bloomington, Flatonia, Ganado, Schulenburg, Shiner, Weimar and Moulton.
After starting practice last Friday, teams will get 14 days of practice before they can start scrimmages on Jan 28.
El Campo will look a little different this season, with a new head coach, the third in the past three years. Bill Savell will be leading the Ladybirds this season. Savell last was an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain.
Along with a new coach, the Ladybirds lost four starters through graduation, right fielder Heather Farrar, third basemen Alyssa Mendez, first baseman Jaleena Macia and designed hitter Jordyn Lehde. However, they are returning the district’s two-time district MVP in senior shortstop Kate Bubela. The also have two first-team all-district players returning in senior outfielder Morgan Russell and sophomore pitcher Carlee Bubela.
Louise will need to replace to starters with right fielder Kaitlyn Maley and second baseman Shea Kidwell both graduating last season. They are returning sophomore catcher Hannah Ochoa who earned second-team all-district honors, it was her first season ever playing softball.