Texas softball relies on freshmen trio Sophia Simpson, Mia Scott, Katie Cimusz early in season

Nick Hargroue, Sports Reporter

Despite the returning upper-class talent like star infielder Janae Jefferson and the addition of several talented transfers, it has surprisingly been Texas softball’s freshmen that are putting on a show in 2022.

Freshman Sophia Simpson is making a case this season for the team’s top pitcher. Coming out of Barbers Hill HS in Mont Belvieu, Texas, Simpson was a consensus top 10 player out of high school, finishing her senior year with a 21–0 record and a 0.18 ERA. Simpson has lived up to these lofty standards with a 2.71 ERA and a 3–2 record thus far in 2022 for the Longhorns.

Freshmen Mia Scott and Katie Cimusz have also made an impact in their debut season, coming in at first and second for the team in batting average and OPS. Scott leads the team with a batting  average of .429, while Cimusz leads the team in OPS at 1.186 with five home runs and 14 RBIs so far this season.

Throughout the season, head coach Mike White has praised his trio of star freshmen, who have become bright spots in a turbulent year.

“Mia Scott, Katie Cimusz, those are the main (players) that are doing some good stuff for us, and we’re hoping this bodes well for us in the future,” said White. “Sophia Simpson is coming out and doing her thing, and that’s helped a lot.”

Hannan Abdikadir

Scott impacts the game not only with her batting ability, but also with her game-breaking speed on the base-paths. Scott combined extra-base hit power, hitting two triples — both in one game, tying a Texas record — and three doubles on the season, along with an outstanding steal success rate. On the season, Scott has been successful 11 out of the 12 times she has attempted to steal a base.

“She’s blessed with great speed … and in practice we see what we see and then you just hope it comes through in the game,” said White. “She is a very blessed ballplayer, very athletic … almost like a mini Janae Jefferson.”

Jefferson was expected to be Texas’ best player this season, coming off of a junior season where she batted .446, the third best in Big 12, and scored 49 runs, the second highest in Big 12. The Humble, Texas, product finished the year with a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 First Team and a selection to the Softball America All-America Third Team.

However, Jefferson and the other veterans on the team have struggled to impact the game as much as the freshmen have this season. Jefferson is only batting .348 this year, while Burke is slowly rebounding from her .143 average to start the season.

As of March 10, Texas is unranked after losing several top 25 matchups to Alabama, UCLA and Florida State, among others. However, the Longhorns are now coming off of two straight wins against Miami University and the University of North Texas. 

Texas will need its star freshmen to continue their impressive seasons if the Longhorns are to sneak back into the top 25 and make a run at the postseason.