Meant to Be a Mustang: Sheppard shining in freshman campaign with Kingwood
HOUSTON – Before the first pitch of the 2022 season was thrown, Kingwood coach Lauren Hendrix dug into the photo archive.
On January 10, Hendrix posted a photo of her and a little girl wearing sunglasses, medal around her neck from the camp she just attended and still wearing her a batting glove on her left hand standing in the home dugout at Kingwood High School.
That little girl was a six-year-old Addyson Sheppard.
“She came to camp every single year since she was Kindergarten and she’s wanted to play here for so long,” Hendrix said.
Now, that once future Mustang - who never missed a Kingwood-Atascocita rivalry game growing up - is up with the big club as a freshman at Kingwood High School.
“I’ve known Coach Hendrix since I was about 5 years old and being a part of this program is something I’ve looked forward to for a long time,” Sheppard said.
As Sheppard worked her way up through the select ball circuit on the way to high school, Hendrix and company were watching. They’ve been “excited” watching her journey.
“It’s been super fun watching her grow up,” Hendrix said. “I’ve been following her career, so I knew what we were getting.”
She is not so little anymore…from camper to Varsity as a Freshman. Happy birthday to our rock solid, reptile loving, awesome freshman, @25Addyson! Wishing you lots of joy & adventure this year. @CoachRavlin@HumbleISD_KHS 💙 @alexxcolonn@haley45lee@Jourdyn_13@LacyGregory_pic.twitter.com/eNnvjqucMS
— Kingwood Softball (@KHSSoftball) January 11, 2022
What the Mustangs got was a freshman who could stand into the box against the best competition in Houston and not flinch.
But her “welcome to the show” moment came during the fall.
“When I hit my first high school home run during fall ball,” Sheppard said. “Even though these games were for practice, I realized that I could compete with the top-level athletes in our area.”
That confidence carried over to the spring, where Sheppard has hit the cover off the ball through Kingwood’s run to a 21-7 overall record.
Sheppard leads the team with 34 RBIs, 10 home runs and 11 doubles. The freshman is second on the team in hits with 33 and third in batting average at .440.
“Coming off of a strong fall where I was named the TFL Fall Spotlight Athlete, I expected my numbers to carry over,” Sheppard said. “During the early season I didn’t have the numbers I wanted, but I put in the extra work to execute for my team. I’m very proud of my results so far and am looking forward to helping my team in any way I can.”
This kid! This kid right here…absolute beast. @25Addyson, we have really enjoyed having you at all the games over the years, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we are SO GLAD you are now in uniform as one of us!! CRUSHED 2 more bombs tonight! 💣 💣 #bleedblue#FAM1LYpic.twitter.com/sHrVfJoFUK
— Kingwood Softball (@KHSSoftball) March 10, 2022
So, did Hendrix expect this?
“From her … yeah, I did,” Hendrix said. “She’s got a great eye and a killer instinct. She is all business in practice, she works hard after practice. She probably takes 300 extra cuts a day. So, when you put in the work you have the confidence, and you have the capability of being good.”
Having the start to her high school career that she has, Sheppard said it is “encouraging” to see how she is matching up against the talent in Houston.
What has also helped her quick maturation process into a varsity player in one of the tougher softball districts in the city has been her teammates.
“It has been a blessing that the upperclassman have welcomed me in to the team,” Sheppard said. “They have been encouraging and insightful while helping me navigate through my freshman season. I couldn’t ask for a better group of teammates to have my back.
“This freshman year has made an impact on my life and I will remember it for years to come.”