UK softball reloads for 2015 season


Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley during the game between the University of Kentucky softball team vs. University of Arkansas at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky.,on Saturday, April 19, 2014. Photo by Michael Reaves

By Joshua Huff

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Fresh off a torrid run through the 2014 NCAA Tournament, UK softball once again dons its gloves, shakes off the dust and takes to the field this February in hopes of repeating last season’s historic campaign.

With its first 24 games on the road, UK will find replicating 2014’s 50-19 record tough, but key additions to an already loaded roster will pay off for a UK team with high expectations.

Key losses in the form of then-seniors Ginny Caroll (outfield), Lauren Cumbess (pitcher/infield), Sarah Frazer (infield), Emily Gaines (outfield), Emily Jolly (utility) and Krystal Smith (infield) shook up a roster that went to the Women’s College World Series for the first time in school history.

However, a talented freshmen class looks to fill in the gaps left by last year’s seniors.

Haley Andrus

Infielder Andrus leads the cast of freshmen. Her talents in the infield will be vital to a position hit hard by graduation. Andrus enters UK via Chattanooga, Tenn., where she won three state championships. She hit .478 in high school with 30 home runs, 196 runs batted in and 215 hits. She earned all-state honors during each of her last three seasons at Baylor High School.

Brooklin Hinz

The addition of the hard-hitting outfielder Hinz will be a weight off the shoulders of UK’s pitching staff. Her eight high school offensive school records attest to her ability to put runs on the scoreboard. She batted .561 for St. Thomas Aquinas High School with 174 hits, 21 home runs and 108 RBI, which will easily transition over to the college level.

Rachael Metzger

A product of Bakersfield, Calif., catcher/infielder Metzger arrives at UK as one of its most prized offensive recruits. She enters as a four-year, first-team all-league honoree and league offensive player of the year at Garces Memorial High School. Metzger hit .545 with 170 RBI and 38 home runs during her career at Garces Memorial. She helped lead her high school to four straight California Central Section Division II SEYL League Championships.

Erin Rethlake

Coming off a 13-2 senior campaign on the mound for Huntington North High School in Huntington, Ind., pitcher/infielder Rethlake adds punch to a stacked pitching rotation. The 2013 Gatorade Indiana Softball Player of the Year went 23-1 during her junior year with an 0.18 earned run average. With the talent to play the field as well as the mound, Rethlake brings a combination of pitching brilliance and offensive prowess to UK.

Boasting a reloaded roster primed to make a statement in women’s softball, the expectations sit at an all-time high for a squad led by head coach Rachel Lawson; however, the transition should be easy for a team that has a mixture of savvy veterans and talented newcomers.