Sophomore utility player Hazel Puempel is entering just her sophomore year at TWU, but she has already made a significant impact to TWU’s softball team.
As a first-year, Puempel batted .372 with 32 RBI and 3 HR’s, and she was named All-LSC Second Team and made the Lone Star Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll in both the fall and the spring semesters.
TWU softball is experiencing quite a bit of turnover coming off of last season, having graduated eight seniors and returning just six upperclassmen among its 18 players. However, Puempel believes the chemistry and comradery they are building as a team will bridge the gap: “It’s a big transition because we lost a lot of people that really guided the underclassmen. . . I think once we all figure it out, and everything works, and we understand the game a little bit better, it’ll all click, and I think that we’ll have a really great season.” When asked about transitioning into a leadership role, Puempel pointed to the team: “I don’t really think of it that way; if someone needs help, I’m always going to be there to help. If they want to work to get better, I’ll always be there to help them work and get better. I don’t really see it as much of a transition; I’m just helping my teammates.”
Coming to TWU was an easy choice for Puempel: “I love TWU . . . I knew as soon as I came on campus that I’d love it. I think that it’s just so open and the people are so nice, and it’s a good academic school, and I figured that’d be a good balance.” Coming from a small town, Puempel loves living in Denton: “I like the energy and the music that they have on the square, and there’s always something to do.” She also loves the food options and already has a few favorite spots: “Rusty Tacos because their tacos are so good, and I love Cartwright’s, and I love Beth Marie’s.”
Right now, Puempel is majoring in Business Administration, though she is not certain on a career path just yet; Puempel is also participating in TWU’s Honors Scholar Program, and she already has professors she leans on: “Dr. Hodges – I’ve always looked up to her as a mentor; she’s really nice and she’s very open to hearing about athletes and how they did in a game, and Professor Brawand. . . I really enjoyed her class, and I really enjoyed her as a person.” TWU’s unique environment also serves as a positive to Puempel: “We get more attention as women here, and I do appreciate that because sometimes I feel like we’re kind of neglected.”
TWU softball is starting its fall pre-season slate, and students can catch Puempel and her teammates at one of their upcoming games.