High School Softball

Freshmen Harrison, Reichardt delivering for Tigers

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 4/6/21

Katy High is dominating District 19-6A softball and looking like a force to be reckoned with in Class 6A Region III. None of that is anything new.

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High School Softball

Freshmen Harrison, Reichardt delivering for Tigers

Posted

Katy High is dominating District 19-6A softball and looking like a force to be reckoned with in Class 6A Region III. None of that is anything new.

What is different for these Tigers is that coach Kalum Haack is relying on a pair of gifted freshmen to help lead the way. Cameryn Harrison and Ashtyn Reichardt have been revelations for the 11-2-2 Tigers, who are 9-0 in district play and on the verge of securing a sixth straight outright district title after a 5-2 win over Cinco Ranch on Tuesday, April 6.

Harrison earned her 11th win, striking out 13, walking four and allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings. At the plate, she was even more dynamic, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two doubles.

Reichardt, meanwhile, showed off her strong left-handed bat, also going 3-for-3, all doubles, with an RBI.

“It helps knowing I have someone by my side that’s going through the same process as me,” Harrison said. “It’s very overwhelming coming into a very talented school in softball and being the young one on the team. So, having someone like Ashtyn to be by my side and to talk to is very helpful.”

Haack can’t remember the last time he had two freshmen this talented, and that’s saying something for a program rich in tradition. Katy has won two state championships since 2015, and expectations are not lowered simply because some of the talent is younger.

“We don’t treat them as freshmen,” Haack said. “They’re treated like everybody else. My philosophy is, I don’t care what grade you’re in. If you’re one of the best nine we have, you’re going to play. Those two are really, really good.”

Harrison, a right-hander, has won her last eight starts and already has a perfect game and a no-hitter this season. She has six straight games of 10 or more strikeouts. A hard thrower whose velocity hovers around 64-65 miles per hour, she has devastated opposing hitters with her riseball and curveball.

“I definitely wasn’t used to not being the top dog,” Harrison said. “Coming from travel ball and being the older of the group, coming here … you have to adjust and know your spot, especially with seniors. Being able to grow my maturity to another level, but still knowing that I have room to grow, has been an adjustment.”

Haack said he doesn’t think he’s had a freshman pitcher like Harrison. She is advanced for her age in her mindset and pitch repertoire. She has to be more consistent hitting her spots, Haack said, but she is already above and beyond.

“She’s tough mentally,” Haack said. “A lot of young pitchers, you coach them hard and they don’t react well. But with her, it just makes her tougher.”

Reichardt, the No. 3 hitter in the lineup, is small in stature, but hits rockets to all parts of the field. Haack said his center fielder is naturally strong and also praised her technique. Her footwork, hands and hips work in sync so well through the hitting zone that the ball explodes off her bat.

Reichardt has put in work learning to hit slow pitching and not getting out in front of the ball early. She is also improving hitting outside pitches.

“The start of the season, I had some trouble,” Reichardt said. “I’ve adjusted and stepped up as far as being more mature and paying attention to older girls pitching. I’ve worked hard, stayed focused and really trusted the people around me. I’ve learned to not worry about how I’m performing so much because I know my teammates and my coaches have my back.”

Harrison and Reichardt have soaked in the vast experience around them. The Tigers have a pair of NCAA Division I signees in catcher Kailey Wyckoff and infielder Olivia McFadden, two players from the 2019 state title team. It makes for a nice core of youth and experience.

But the youngsters are growing into their own. After the Cinco Ranch win, Harrison was seen talking demonstratively to her teammates about poor play. It brought a smile to Haack’s face.

“Their abilities were good coming in here. They’re really good ballplayers,” Haack said. “They’re also very competitive. They really want to do well and help the team. They’re still learning about hitting and situations and all our offenses and defenses. By the time they get it all down, they’ll be really, really good.”

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