MOREHEAD CITY — Hydee Kugler says she’ll have higher expectations for herself next year after the season she’s produced in her sophomore campaign.
She ranks in the top two of eight categories for the West Carteret softball team.
The shortstop is tied for first on the team in both slugging (.800) and triples (three), second in batting average (.525), on-base percentage (.565) and stolen bases (13), and tied for second in RBIs (15), runs (23) and doubles (five).
“I’ve done a lot better than I thought I was going to do,” she said. “I’ve surprised myself.”
Kugler wasn’t aware of the following: she’s tallied a hit in all 12 games, she’s registered at least two hits in nine games, she’s scored a run in 11 games, including 10 in a row, she’s scored at least two runs in eight games, and she’s produced a RBI in nine games.
“Wow, that is pretty cool,” she said. “I didn’t know that. I just try to hit the ball every time and do my best every game. I am definitely more confident than I was last year.”
Her fine sophomore season continued Monday night in an 11-1 win over Northern in the first round of the 3A playoffs as she went 1-of-3 with a RBI, three runs and a stolen base.
A team with no seniors in its lineup and six sophomores, Kugler and her teammates are sure to continue a proud tradition that began in 2016.
The Patriots set a school record for wins that year (18-4) and won the program’s first conference championship in the fast-pitch era. They’ve also won the last four league titles to now total five in a row, and this year saw a 26-game conference winning streak finally come to an end.
The Morehead City club has gone 79-25 overall and 49-3 in league play over the past five seasons.
West is currently 11-2 overall and 9-2 in the 3A Coastal Conference.
“I think we’ve done pretty well as a team,” Kugler said. “We’ve worked hard.”
The only hiccup during this stretch came last year when the team’s season came to an end after just four games when the pandemic cancelled the 2020 campaign.
“It was pretty cool that we went undefeated in those four games,” Kugler said to put a positive spin on her freshman year. “We were hoping we’d be back soon, so it was disappointing when it ended. I was definitely excited to play more than four games this year.”
Kugler said she hoped to make varsity as a freshman but was a bit surprised when it happened.
“I don’t remember what it was like in that first game, but I was probably so scared,” she said.
Kugler has played softball since her T-ball days when she was 5 years old and plays year round with travel teams.
“I played other sports in middle school, but I’m concentrating on softball in high school,” she said. “I love it.”
A standout student with a 3.6 GPA, Kugler wants to play ball in college. She isn’t sure where she wants to play, but she’s narrowed down her field of study.
“A couple of years ago, I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I’ve wanted to be a pediatrician for a few years now. I really like science.”
Here are a few of Kugler’s favorite things, as well as her ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse, and the five items she would take with her on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “The Princess and the Frog.”
Favorite TV Show: “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Favorite Cartoon: “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Billie Eilish.
Favorite Song: “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood.
Favorite Book: “The Bible.”
Favorite Team: Minnesota Vikings.
Favorite Athlete: Nicole “Sis” Bates.
Favorite Vacation: Minnesota.
Favorite Hobby: Going to the beach.
Favorite Subject: Anything science related.
Favorite Quote: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”– Proverbs 16:24.
Favorite Food: Nerds.
Favorite Drink: Sprite.
Favorite Restaurant: Chick-fil-A.
Favorite Season: Summer.
Favorite Sports Memory: “Being able to play my whole career with West.”
Favorite Teacher: Ms. Lisa Hensley.
Favorite Sport: Softball.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Having fun with the team and doing things together.”
Favorite Website/App: TikTok.
Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: Billie Eilish.
Ideal Dinner Guest List: My great-grandpa Ernie, Grammy, Billie Eilish, Chris Hemsworth and Patrick Dempsey.
Ideal Group to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: Abree Young, Kiersten Margoupis, Makenzie Burroughs, Anna Keith Sullivan, Ava Smith and coach Jessica Ball.
Items For A Deserted Island: Boat, food, water filter, knife and a hammock.