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Softball: Five freshmen help power Humble into playoff contention

March 29, 2019

Humble opened up its new softball facility on March 22, and did so in winning fashion.

The Lady Wildcats defeated Sam Rayburn 2-1 to open a new state-of-the-art facility that features new turf, scoreboard, stands, press box, bullpens and hitting cages.

Wildcat nation also showed up to support the young Lady Wildcats, who find themselves in the playoff hunt.

Coach Bill Gonzales enjoyed their opening game against the Lady Texans in the new facility.

“It was beautiful,” said Gonzales. “The stands were crowded, and the kids were excited. Even to the point where we had some nervous jitters because everything was brand new. Everything looks so good. This is a state-of-the-art place, and we’re fortunate to play and practice on it. Our girls are having a lot of fun right now.”

Humble is the surprise of District 22-6A with a 6-4 record this season. Last season the Lady Wildcats finished 1-15 in district.

Humble got its biggest win of the season on March 19 with a 2-0 road win against Atascocita that got everyone talking in the district.

“We played extremely well defensively,” Gonzales said. “(Samantha Umfrid) was spot on with her pitches, and we got those timely hits that we needed in the game.”

Gonzales comes over from Waltrip High School where his team went 14-0 and won a district title with a 25-8 overall record last season.

He was up for a challenge when he took the Humble softball job and was looking to turn the program around.

He inherited a very young team.

When Gonzales fills out his lineup, his first four batters of young Lady Wildcats are freshman. Not far down the lineup is one more freshman.

Cathy Jimenez, Gabriella Sosa, Sophia Landa and Alyssa Hernandez are typically the first four batters in the lineup for the Lady Wildcats and Janilet Pena is in the sixth spot. Kiara Gross and Denise Avalos are also freshmen on the roster as well.

Gonzales was looking for his young Lady Wildcats to compete this season, but now they have plans to make a playoff push.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Gonzales said. “But these girls are talented, and they work so hard. We’re expecting more now. What I expected them to do was improve from 1-15 and to just go out and compete every game playing better than they did last year. They have done a whole lot better.”

Humble’s junior ace pitcher Umfrid has kept the Lady Wildcats in their games.

The right-hander leads the district in strikeouts with 104 in 10 games so far this season. Her ERA is 1.90 and against district opponents the opposing teams batting average is .198.

Umfrid has 37 strikeouts in her last three games, including five strikeouts against Atascocita and 16 Ks in back-to-back games against Sam Rayburn and South Houston.

“She has a lot of movement and spin on her ball,” said Gonzales. “She’s hitting her spot, she’s difficult to hit, and I think the last few games and the Atascocita game she was spot on. That movement in her ball causes quite an illusion.”

Despite a delay in playing at the new facility, the Lady Wildcats will have their remaining six district games at home.

The district is wide open with teams being separated by as many as one game for top spot in the district.

The Lady Wildcats currently are tied for fifth place with Kingwood.

“It’s tough,” said Gonzales of the district. “Just when you think you know who you’re chasing somebody bumps them off. It’s wide open, and we have six games left. We can get in. It remains to be seen with this district so wide open.”

marcus.gutierrez@chron.com