HOUSTON -- University of Houston Softball Head Coach Kristin Vesely announced the signing of Kati Ray Brown, Bethany Busch, Kylee Hatton, Rachel Hertenberger and Abby Odneal to National Letters of Intent on Monday afternoon.
All five signees are standout prep stars from the Greater Houston area.
"Our 2018 class is well balanced with power and speed," Vesely said. "We expect all five signees to be able to come in and make a big impact on the field during their time here. Every one of them will not only challenge our returners but also continue to grow this program."
|High School / Tournament Team||Hometown|
|Kati Ray Brown||
|Fort Bend Christian / Impact Gold Jacoby||Sugar Land, Texas|
|Baytown Sterling HS / Impact Gold||Baytown, Texas|
|Deer Park HS / Impact Gold Jacoby||Deer Park, Texas|
|Alvin HS / Impact Gold||Alvin, Texas|
|Ridge Point HS / Texas Bombers||Missouri City, Texas|
Kati Ray Brown
5-10 | C | Fort Bend Christian/Impact Gold Jacoby | Sugar Land, Texas
Brown is a 5-10 catcher out of Sugar Land, Texas. She is a three-year letterwinner at Fort Bend Christian Academy and plays tournament ball for Impact Gold Jacoby. Entering her senior season, Brown is a three-time all-district and two-time all-state selection. She helped FBCA to TAPPS State Titles in 2016 and 2017. Brown is also a two-year letterwinner in swimming.
Brown is a Houston legacy. Her father, Billy Ray, was a four-year letterwinner on the golf team from 1982-85, helping the Cougars to National Championships in 1982 and 1985. He was also the 1982 NCAA Individual National Champion. Following his Houston career, Brown played on the PGA Tour for 16 years and currently serves as a commentator for the Golf Channel. He is a 2004 Houston Athletics Hall of Honor inductee.
Her mother, Cindy, was a Houston cheerleader, while her sister, Kendall, was a member of the softball program in 2015. Her uncle and grandfather were members of the Houston football team.
Vesely on Brown
"Kati Ray brings a big bat that can help bolster our offensive production. We expect her to be able to sit in the middle of the lineup, swing with power and drive in runs. As our longest 2018 commit, Kati Ray has continued to develop her leadership skills and has a tremendous presence behind the plate. She bleeds Cougar Red, and we are elated to have her join our program."
5-3 | OF | Baytown Sterling HS/Impact Gold | Baytown, Texas
Busch is a 5-3 outfielder out of Baytown, Texas. She is a three-year letterwinner at Baytown Sterling High School and plays tournament ball for Impact Gold. Entering her senior season, Busch is a three-time 21-6A All-District selection. As a junior, she was named District 21-6A Offensive Player of the Year, Baytown Sun First-Team Honorable Mention and TSWA 6A Honorable Mention All-State as well as Lady Rangers MVP. As a sophomore, she earned 21-6A First-Team All-District honors at designated player and was named the Lady Ranger Player of the Year. As a freshman, Busch garnered 21-6A Second-Team All-District laurels as an infielder and earned the Kadye Cooper Lady Ranger Heart Award. She is also a three-time 21-6A Academic All-District selection and a member of National Honor Society.
Busch currently plays for Impact Gold's 18U National Team. She previously played for the 16U National Team, participated in the 2017 Triple Crown Fireworks All-Star Game and was selected to the 2017 USA Elite Select 30 All-America First Team.
Vesely on Busch
"Bethany brings great speed and aggressiveness, as she very much fits our Houston Softball style of play. You will see her cause havoc on the bases with the potential to be a leadoff hitter. With her continued growth over the last year, she has become an offensive triple threat. She has great range in the outfield and will steal an ample amount of bases each year. We expect her to have an impressive freshman year."
5-6 | UTL | Deer Park HS/Impact Gold Jacoby | Deer Park, Texas
Hatton is a 5-6 utility player out of Deer Park, Texas. She is a two-year letterwinner at Deer Park High School and plays tournament ball for Impact Gold Jacoby. At Deer Park, Hatton earned Defensive Player of the Year honors and also lettered in basketball and volleyball.
Vesely on Hatton
"Kylee has the ability to play multiple positions and has a very consistent bat. She has continued to mature as a player and has a high softball IQ. She will most likely compete for a corner infield spot but can play almost anywhere in the field. Over, the past two years, we've watched her grow into a leader and are excited to see what she can achieve here at Houston."
5-8 | P | Alvin HS/Impact Gold | Alvin, Texas
Hertenberger is a 5-8 pitcher out of Alvin, Texas. She is a three-year letterwinner at Alvin High School and plays tournament ball for Impact Gold. Entering her senior season, Hertenberger is a three-time 22-6A First-Team All-District selection and three-time TSWA All-State honoree. As a junior, she was also named the District 22-6A MVP and set the school single-season strikeout record with 257 punchouts.
Hertenberger enters her final campaign with a 55-16-7 career record with 606 strikeouts across 439 innings pitched.
Vesely on Hertenberger
"This kid is a work horse. She has the physical ability to throw a lot of innings with her strength and is very mentally tough as a pitcher. She has continued to grow and master her craft on the mound. The most impressive thing, and the one thing that separates her, is her competitiveness. With her mentality and quality pitches, we anticipate her to come in and pitch a lot of innings right away."
5-8 | INF | Ridge Point HS/Texas Bombers | Missouri City, Texas
Odneal is a 5-8 infielder out of Missouri City, Texas. She is a three-year letterwinner at Ridge Point High School and plays tournament ball for Texas Bombers. A three-year starter at shortstop, Odneal is a three-time 20-6A All-District selection and 2017 TSWA and TGCA All-State honoree. She helped Ridge Point to three district titles, area championships and a 2015 appearance in the state semifinals.
Odneal is a Houston legacy. Her mother, Ashley, was a four-year letterwinner on the Cougar volleyball team from 1990-93.
Vesely on Odneal
"Abby is an everyday player. She consistently shows up and performs both at practice and in games. She is a left-handed hitter that has gap-to-gap power with the ability to use her short game when needed. We expect her to have a very high batting average and on base percentage, which could potentially put her in the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in the lineup. She is a perfectionist with a high ceiling, and we are enthusiastically waiting to see her daily growth in this program."
The Houston Athletics Ticket Office is once again proud to offer the Shasta Pass for the 2017-18 season. For just $80, Cougar fans can purchase one Shasta Pass, which allows season-long general admission entrance to all Houston Volleyball, Soccer, Women's Basketball and Softball home games.
The Shasta Pass offers Houston fans a substantial saving as single-game tickets start at $5 for all four sports. To purchase a Shasta Pass, call 713-GO-COOGS or CLICK HERE.
JOIN DIAMOND CLUB
Fans can help support the Houston Softball program by joining the Diamond Club. To find out more information about the Diamond Club, visit UHCougars.com or call Cougar Pride at (713) 743-GoUH. For more information, CLICK HERE.