The Lady Tigers hit the diamond for the first time to start their scrimmage season against BF Terry High School last Tuesday evening at Sealy High School.
“I love being out here,” head coach Brittney Whitehead said. “I (lose track of) time and everyone in the stands were probably wondering ‘Is this over yet?’”
Whitehead and the coaching staff got their first real look at what they’re working with for this year although they were still missing a strong contingency of basketball players who were doing battle in El Campo that night.
“We started off slow, we kind of figured that would happen because we don't have a lot of returners and that girl was throwing hard,” Whitehead said of the opposing starting pitcher. “We haven't practiced that, we haven't seen that yet. But for our first time live, having that second pitcher come in gave us a little bit of confidence because we were able to hit the ball and score some runs.”
Although it did take a little while to get over the first-time jitters, Whitehead kept reminding the team that these are still practice games and to go out and enjoy their time on the field.
“Oh yeah, they were definitely nervous,” Whitehead said. “Especially the ones that haven't played in a while because they took a year off or are young, so when they came in and they saw that girl throwing, they're like, ‘Oh, God.’ We told them to just have fun, this is still practice and we have another three scrimmages before we even play a game.”
Sealy traveled to East Bernard Friday evening before hosting Rice Consolidated Tuesday evening. The Lady Tigers wrap up their preseason slate against Brazos at home this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Sealy High School.
“I think that we will jump up on (East Bernard) a lot earlier, they're kind of the same situation where they have kids in basketball, so they have a mix of JV and varsity, which is kind of what we're dealing with. So hopefully we match up a little better and make it a little more competitive,” Whitehead added.
Of course, there were plenty of positive takeaways for the coaching staff ranging from a player coming back from a long hiatus to the senior leaders of the team.
“Kendall Johnson,” Whitehead said of someone who positively surprised her. “You know, she hasn't played – for what we've been told – since the sixth grade and she came out and put the ball in play and then she stepped in the circle and threw strikes for us. I was impressed with my seniors; Bryley Young behind the plate really stepped it up by blocking the ball and hustling. And then we had Reagan Hoffpauir and Haley Reese with some big hits. Our seniors really did step up today.”
On the other hand, the scrimmage also highlighted some areas of improvement the team will need to be working on throughout the year.
“Pitching for sure. And we talked about that, we knew our pitching wasn't going to be that strong,” Whitehead said. “We need to clean up our defensive mental errors because we know our defense has to be strong enough to support our pitching. We had a couple of mental mistakes, but it's early, I mean, we've only practiced for a week so we can't expect them to be perfect this early … I'm just seeing where everyone can play, we tried to mix it up and put kids in some different positions to see what lineup works out, there's a lot to look at.”