UK softball set to make an impact


The Kentucky Wildcats softball team celebrates after defeating the Depaul Blue Demons 6-0 in game 2 of the Lexington Regional at John Cropp Stadium on Friday, May 19, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff.

Erika Bonner

It’s almost softball season in the bluegrass, and the Kentucky softball team couldn’t be more excited to kick-start the season.

After finishing 39-19, ranking No. 17 in both the NFCA Coaches’ Poll and USA Softball/ESPN poll, and making their way to the NCAA Super Regional last season, it goes without saying that there are high expectations and even more excitement for the 2018 season.

Rachel Lawson, who is entering her 11th season as Kentucky’s head coach, believes her team is well-prepared and ready to compete against fellow SEC

contenders, who she says is the best softball conference in the nation.

Lawson said there a few things that separate her team from others in the Southeastern Conference.

“I think the thing that would make us a little bit different is we have very mature position players coming back, our offense from top to bottom is matured, we’re returning just about every person that had a lot to do with the run production, so I expect that we’ll be able to generate a lot of offense,” Lawson


Expect junior shortstop Katie Reed to make some noise for the Cats this year, as she was named to the 2018 All-SEC Preseason team.

“It’s an honor to be able to get that award in the SEC, in one of the best conferences in the country and to have that respect means a lot, but now I got to go prove it this season,” Reed said.

According to Reed, she plans on proving herself through her ability at shortstop, where she’s has a year of experience under her belt. Reed also wants to be a leader in the infield now that she’s an upperclassman.

The St. Louis native was also named to the first team All-SEC, third team All-America by the NFCA and finished with a .380 batting average this past season.

Lawson has nothing but positive things to say about the second baseman-turned-shortstop, complimenting her athletic abilities and also her accomplishments off the field.

“Katie Reed does not have a down side,” Lawson said.

Kentucky’s coaches and players alike had something to say about SEC play this year, speaking on the amount of talent in the conference and their excitement to get started.

“I think just like any other team at Kentucky, our goal is to win the SEC… We want to make sure that we get a national seed so that we’re not only hosting regionals, but we’re also hosting super regionals because that’s our best shot at the world series,” says Lawson.

Lawson also expressed her gratitude toward Big Blue Nation backing them up and always showing up to their games in blue and white.

Working a lot offensively and maintaining defense and pitching is what the Cats have focused on most going into this season and is what they’re best at, according to senior pitcher Erin Rethlake.

Rethlake, another key player for the Cats, says she isn’t sure what her role at the plate will be this year, but whatever it is, she wants to do what her team needs at any point in time.

Kentucky’s 2018 squad will be rather young, as 11 of their players are freshmen and sophomores. Reed and junior utility player Abbey Cheek both spoke on the team’s younger players, Reed saying how good she thinks they’ll be despite their young roster.

“I think that we are very talented this year and ready to compete in the SEC, and our newcomers are ready too, so it’s very exciting,” Cheek said, who was last season’s team leader in runs scored, home runs and RBI’s.

Kentucky will be something to watch out for this season with their new and old talent, and are more than ready to take on the best of the best in the SEC. The Cats will start their season on Feb. 10 at New Mexico State.