This weekend, Texas junior Reagan Hathaway got a chance to reintroduce herself.
Hathaway served as an offensive catalyst as Texas opened its softball season with a 4-0 showing at the McCombs Field-hosted Texas Classic. The lead-off hitter for Texas in three of those games, Hathaway went 3-for-9 with five RBIs and four runs scored. All three of Hathaway’s hits were run-scoring doubles. She also drew four walks.
Texas outscored its guests from Boston College, Boise State and Northwestern State by a score of 32-3. A center fielder, Hathaway was one of four Longhorns to start in all four games. Those starts were Hathaway’s first since she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during the 2017 season.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a year and a half. It’s been forever,” Hathaway said. “I’ve been giddy all week.”
Recruited out of Kansas, Hathaway hit .309 as a freshman and was one of UT’s top offensive threats during her sophomore campaign. During a showdown with Oklahoma that April, however, her season was ended after she collided with a teammate while playing the field.
Hathaway was cleared to return the next year and hit a pinch-hit home run during the second game of Texas’ 2018 season. That would be her only at-bat of the spring, though, as UT soon announced that she needed to have an arthroscopic procedure performed on the same knee.
In total, that knee injury cost Hathaway 81 of the 82 games on UT’s schedule. She resumed working out just before the summer break and fared well this past fall. UT coach Mike White told reporters after Texas won three times on Saturday that “she showed me what she’s been showing me in practice.”
“I talked to her before at the beginning of the season and said everything happens for a reason,” White said. “Your injury happened for a reason, maybe to make you miss the game a little bit more so you cherish each at-bat. She’s playing like a kid that’s missed the game.”
Hathaway said she didn’t feel any hesitation in her return. She sported a brace on her right knee this weekend but insisted she was “full-go.” She ran down four outs in the outfield and scored one of her runs on a wild pitch by Boston College.
“I don’t think I can let that doubt or that fear creep in,” Hathaway said. “Then I would not go as hard and it wouldn’t work out very well.”
Texas will travel to Florida this week for the Clearwater Elite Invitational. Two of UT’s upcoming opponents — No. 11 LSU (6-0) and No. 13 Kentucky (2-3) — were listed above the 16th-ranked Longhorns in a preseason poll compiled by the NFCA.
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