After making a playoff appearance each year in the past decade and with a new one on the horizon, head softball coach Brittney Whitehead is excited for what this, and next year holds for the Sealy program.
Despite losing a good chunk of seniors that led the Lady Tigers to a third-place finish in District 25-4A and a bi-district berth, Whitehead explained there will be plenty of roster owners this year who saw time on the diamond during last year’s campaign.
“The thing is we carried so many girls last year that a lot of them got experience that most other kids didn’t get,” the head coach said. “We have Kayla Camacho back pitching and she did some at varsity last year so we’re going to rely heavily on her on the mound and Reagan Hoffpauir as a senior is going to have to lead.”
Not only will those upperclassmen be calling the shots, but Whitehead added a trio of athletes who will be making their return to the diamond after some time off.
“The good news is that we have three new seniors that we added that have played before and just took a couple of years off,” she said. “Raegan Newsome, Brylie Young and Haley Reese; (we lost) Raygan Snyder at catcher and Brylie’s caught pretty much her whole life, she just took last year off and is coming back so we’re hoping she can take over that role.
“I’m hoping Reese can step in, I know she moved in last semester but she came from Bellville and made varsity as a freshman so I know that she has the talent I just hope she has the leadership to go with it,” Whitehead continued. “She played volleyball with some of these girls already, so she knows them, she’s cool with them.”
On top of that will be an impressive group of juniors who have played in some big spots already.
“I like this junior class a lot, they work really hard and they really want to be good,” the coach said. “Justice Jett has improved tremendously since her freshman year, and then with Brooke Kram, Avery Oliver, Heaven Hernandez and Kayla Camacho, they’re a solid group.”
What could serve as a curveball down the road this season is Whitehead’s impending maternity leave although her assistants are already preparing to take over, hopefully just not until after spring break.
“Our goal is obviously playoffs but this year is going to be a little different because I’ll likely be out for all of district so they’re going to have to rely on my assistants who are very knowledgeable in the game and who are going to do a great job,” she said of Mendi Nelson and Lisa Schroeder. “My goal is to make it to spring break. I’m hoping to do the first two district games, which are Brookshire and Needville, and then after that it’s going to be kind of a co-management between my two assistants so Nelson will probably do a majority of the head coaching while Schroeder focuses on the JV but it will definitely be a team effort.”
No matter what, she knows the team assembled of quality athletes are only better off with their work ethic and determination to improve.
“We’re not going to have a young team because we’re going to have several juniors and seniors playing but we’re going to have a less-experienced team,” Whitehead said. “The good news about this team is that they want to get better every day. Their drive at practice and their want to play the game, they’re going to work hard hopefully so that they’re where we want them to be for this year and next year. The ultimate goal is playoffs and then once we get there, we’ll just take it one game at a time trying to keep people healthy and no injuries because we’re already low on numbers as it is.”