North Texas Daily

Humor and home runs, Rebar evolves into pivotal player for softball

Humor and home runs, Rebar evolves into pivotal player for softball

April 26
11:54 2018

Entering a struggling sports program is never an easy thing to do, and for sophomore outfielder Hanna Rebar, it took time to adjust.

After playing 51 games in 2017 during her freshman campaign, Rebar finished with the third lowest batting average on the team (.213) while collecting five home runs and 20 RBIs.

This season, though, she completely flipped the switch.

After an off-season consisting of countless early mornings and late nights for Rebar, her game has exploded for the Mean Green.

“Coming into this year, she’s put in the extra work and has done other things she didn’t do last season,” head coach Tracey Kee said. “She’s really fixed trying to stay ahead of her swing. When students put in extra work, they’re going to be great hitters.”

Rebar is currently third on the team in batting average (.306), second in RBIs (28) and has doubled her home runs with a team-high 10 long balls this season. Rebar knows she owes all her success to her hitting coach, Natalia Kozlowski.

“I have to give a lot of that to Coach Koz,” Rebar said. “She worked a lot with me outside of practice. She sets up a lot of hitting sessions and drills that really helped me individually.”

Rebar is a second year transfer out of Stephen F. Austin University. She spent only a semester in Nacogdoches, Texas before deciding it was best for her to leave the program. Thanks to current North Texas assistant coach and former Stephen F. Austin University head coach, Gay McNutt, Kee was able to acquire Rebar during a time when she desperately needed more names on her roster.

“Our roster had dropped down to 14 players due to injuries and transfers, so we were in dire need of a quality student athlete,” Kee said. “Since coach McNutt was the one who recruited her, I was able to get a solid and honest opinion from her. We just felt it would be a good mix for Rebar and ourselves.”

It was a big decision to make, but Rebar felt confident in her choice to make the move to Denton.

“I really liked that the coaching staff was totally honest with me from the get-go,” Rebar said. “They told me exactly what they needed from me and what was expected from me. It was just very welcoming and felt like they really wanted me to be a part of their program.”

But much like many of the other players on the North Texas roster, Rebar’s importance on the team goes far beyond the numbers she puts up out on the field. Her outgoing and accepting personality has made her one of the more charismatic players on the team and everyone’s friend.

“She’s really the heart of this team,” sophomore infielder Lacy Gregory said. “She always keeps the team going when we have a down day by coming out here with her energy and bringing everyone else up.”

In practices or games, Rebar balances the fine line between business and having a little bit of fun with her teammates. In a sport where the teams play over 50 games in a span of three months, her teammates and coaches appreciate all she does for the spirit of the Mean Green.

“She knows when to be goofy and when to be dialed in and focused,” Kee said. “On the field, she’s trying to have quality at-bats and playing right field the best that she can, but off the field, she’s one of those kids that isn’t intimated by coaches. She likes to have fun and laugh, and she is really quite witty.”

Team chemistry has been a key part of North Texas’ success this season, and Rebar has been the glue holding that together. With all of the different personalities on the field or in the dugout, it is easy to see where Rebar’s importance is with this team.

“This year we all just have a really good mesh with each other,” Rebar said. “We all like playing with each other and have similar interests off the field. It makes it easy getting to know everyone.”

The combination of her unique personality and her offensive production sets Rebar apart from others. Often, she shows the leadership qualities she gained over such a short amount of time.

Her improvement at the plate has opened several eyes including Kee and company, and it helped North Texas get off to a hot start in conference play before more recent struggles. Regardless of how the team is doing though, Rebar always seems to have the antidote for everyone.

“As a teammate, how can you not look at her numbers and be impressed?” Kee said. “You can never predict who your leaders are going to be, but if she stays on the course she’s on and continues to work as hard as she does, then I think she can develop into that.”

Putting aside all the jokes and laughs, Rebar is a determined player. North Texas has yet to win a conference championship in its 14 year tenure, but she has her sights set on changing that over the course of the next couple years in Denton.

“My team and I want a ring,” Rebar said. “That’s our goal as a whole, and it’s something I’ve wanted since college started. It would be a dream come true.”

Featured image: North Texas sophomore Hanna Rebar runs the bases after hitting a home run in a game against Prairie View A&M on Feb. 24.

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Luis Diosdado

Luis Diosdado

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