When Sealy junior little league manager Steve Aguado was told that no team in the history of Greater Sealy Little League has made it through sectionals and advanced to the state tournament, he responded with an intriguing, “Really?”
One of his assistant coaches, Jason Kainer, reiterated it seriously had never happened, and all Aguado could think about is being the team that gets it done.
Flash forward to the Section 1 Final where the Tigers had yet to be defeated in the double-elimination bracket and re-met the Lost Pines team they beat in round one.
Despite starting the championship game “kind of flat,” according to Aguado, the will and determination to win were not far behind.
“I trust my boys, I know what I had in my lineup and what the other coach had in his lineup, they ended up with seven runs, they earned one so that tells you we weren’t on our best game,” said Aguado. “We had one inning where we were able to put in three runs and after that, we shut the door on them and keep them down.
“Need to give props to Zachary Barrientos, he came in relief of Braden Tyler and Zach was lights-out,” Aguado added. “He finished a heck of a game and I think the boys kind of rallied around him striking out boys, getting guys to ground out; they were like, ‘Hey man we need to give him some run support,’ so they were able to knock in three more runs, 10-7 and just close the door on them.”
The manager also mentioned a few other highlight performances although he knows even more contributions also came to help the whole team come out on top.
“Zach came in and pitched a tremendous game, he came in relief of his buddy and did what he had to do, (Dillon) Dornak again hitting the ball, Ray Ellis came up with a big hit which allowed us to take the lead, so many things that you see and I wish I could single them all out but what it comes down to is it was a team effort,” Aguado said plain and simple. “The boys realized it’s not going to be me winning the game, it’s going to be all of us and that’s what I really love about watching these boys; they’re really gelling and becoming a unit and it’s just beautiful to see.”
Once it was all said and done, they secured the title and etched their names in the record books forever.
“They’re excited, when you tell them they made history they kind of looked at each other like they’re trying to soak it all in and I told them you’re the first team to ever get past sectionals and advance to state in the history of Sealy and I think it kind of soaked in,” when the coach gave them the rest of that week off and got back to work that Sunday.
Although that extended time off gave them some time to think about the impact they hold in history, Aguado knows from personal experience it could take a little while longer.
“I’m excited I grew up here, I was blessed to play football here, won two state championships so winning didn’t soak in until about two years after like, ‘God dang man, we won state!’” Aguado recalled. “Hopefully I can have that feeling again with these boys and my other coaches … it’s exciting, I think about it and I think I get more nervous, not for myself, but I really want to see these boys go as far as they can because they have a lot of potential.”
The coach sees that potential and has little worries about who they will face in the tournament when it starts July 20 in Tyler.
“They know it’s going to take more hard work and a little more focus but like I told them, ‘I would line you guys up against anybody as long as we’re playing our A-game, we can put up a fight against anyone in the state of Texas,’” he said. “I think they believe that and of course they know we’ve got some things to work on, they’ll literally tell you we need to hit more consistently, that’s one thing they know and we need to make less errors behind our pitchers so they know that and when it’s time to work, I’ll tell you what, they’re working on those things that hurt them in the game or the little things they did wrong, I’m telling you these boys have really impressed me every day.”
That enthralled feeling is only bolstered by the overall notion of coaching a hometown team to state.
“For our coaches, I can speak for them and myself that it’s been an absolute honor to coach in your hometown a group of boys that are making noise now in little league as far as junior all-stars but the future is very bright going forward for baseball in Sealy,” he said. “When both of these groups transfer to high school and play together, there is a bright future for baseball in Sealy and throughout the younger groups as well so I’m excited just to be a part of it living here in Sealy again.”
If you happen to come across one of these athletes, be sure to let them know you’re proud of them.
“Get the community behind these boys, if they see one of these all-star boys, just pat them on the back tell them you’re proud of them because they’ve represented the town of Sealy pretty damn good,” said Aguado. “Shoutout to the parents honestly, without the parents getting these boys to practice on time and trusting our coaches with their boys for a two-hour practice, sometimes three, and have the patience with us, it’s just amazing to have those parents trust us.”