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Softball transfers expected to contribute immediately this season

Softball transfers expected to contribute immediately this season

From left to right, Sally Gastelo, Katie Clark and Sam Rea are the newest members of Mean Green softball team. Gastelo transferred from Arizona Western, Clark from Stephen F. Austin and Rea from Arizona College. Sara Carpenter

Softball transfers expected to contribute immediately this season
February 07
20:07 2018

The battle for a starting spot is always an exciting fight in the sports world. For North Texas softball coach Tracey Kee, there has been quite a competition to watch throughout the offseason between her three newest transfers — junior Sam Rea, sophomore Katie Clark and junior Sally Gastelo.

Transferring into a program that has struggled to win games over the past few years can be risky. However, coach Kee has plenty of confidence her newest talents will contribute greatly this upcoming season.

“As a coach, when you go out and look for transfers, you’re looking for someone who can make an immediate impact,” Kee said. “These girls have picked up the system, have a high softball IQ and have really hit the ground running”.

A standout in her two years at Phoenix College, Rea comes to North Texas as an infielder, and she is a threat to opposing teams with her big bat. In her first two collegiate seasons, Rea combined for a .438 batting average, while hitting 28 home runs and knocking in 136 RBI’s.

“Sam has the potential to add a lot of power to the left side of the plate,” Kee said. “She can also help get us some depth at the corners.”

Born and raised in Arizona, Rea knew that she wanted to get out of the state and experience Division I softball from a different perspective. When North Texas started its recruitment, she knew right away Denton was a place she would not mind calling home.

“I could tell it was an experienced program with coaches that really care about the players,” Rea said. “It looked like an area that I really wanted to be involved in, so that obviously drew me in a lot.”

Rea enters the 2018 season listed as primarily a first baseman and has shown Kee she has the ability to be her everyday starter if given the opportunity.

Joining Rea this year is another Arizona native, Gastelo, who joined the Mean Green family last semester after playing for Arizona Western College.

“Anytime you transition from a junior college do a D1 program, it takes some time to adjust,” Kee said. “In regards to Sally, she’s just a really hard worker and puts in the extra time and has handled the transition very well.”

Gastelo averaged a solid .388 batting average in her two years at Arizona, adding another impressive bat to a North Texas roster. Gastelo, a junior outfielder, is not too worried about playing time and is more focused on doing what she can for her teammates.

“I kind of just play it by ear,” Gastelo said. “My thing is just to help out wherever and however I can with the team.”

However, Clark has perhaps been the most intriguing transfer after joining the squad in January. Clark is a mid-year transfer from Stephen F. Austin, where Kee has found several pieces of her team. Volunteer assistant coach Gay McNutt and sophomore outfielder Hannah Rebar are also former Lumberjacks.

Rebar and Clark go way back, which was part of the draw to the program for the two newcomers.

“We knew from our junior year in high school that we would be roommates at SFA,” Clark said. “Obviously, it was upsetting when she left to come here, but I just think its so cool that we’re now reunited and back with each other.”

Coach Kee added in that Clark’s speed and agility is what sets her apart from most. With that type of athletic ability, Clark should fit in nicely with the outfield unit.

“She really just has all the tools,” Kee said. “Being a lefty hitter, her slap hitting is very effective and she uses her speed to her advantage.”

Much like Rea, Clark has made an immediate impression on Kee and the rest of the coaching staff to add her name into the discussion of the starting lineup.

“She’s got a strong arm, we’re looking for her to make an impact in the outfield grass where our depth has been kind of low,” Kee said.

The girls are scheduled to make their first appearance in a Mean Green uniform along with the rest of the team Thursday through Friday in the Mardi Gras Classic at UL Monroe. The possibility of bad weather may force a change to the schedule.

Featured Image: From left to right, Sally Gastelo, Katie Clark and Sam Rea are the newest members of Mean Green softball team. Gastelo transferred from Arizona Western, Clark from Stephen F. Austin and Rea from Arizona College. Sara Carpenter

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Luis Diosdado

Luis Diosdado

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1 Comment

  1. Elaine Brown
    Elaine Brown February 08, 15:40

    Love that Katie Clark!!

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