Even though Brazos senior Allie Gonzalez didn’t actually get to play in her senior night game, Cougarette head softball coach Dustin Nilius made sure her career was still honored and hosted an unconventional senior ceremony.
The grass was mowed, baselines were chalked and the lights turned on at 8:20 p.m. April 14, the night Brazos was supposed to host the Louise Hornets for the regular-season home finale. They stayed on for 20 minutes and 20 seconds and 11 minutes into the ceremony, head football coach/athletic director/public address announcer Ryan Roecker came over the loudspeakers.
He started off by picking up where the Cougarettes left off, ending on a couple of positive notes. Brazos took second at a big tournament in Anahuac before nailing down a 13-1 win over Moulton in what would end up being the first and only district contest.
He went on to list some of Gonzalez’ season highlights to that point, starting on offense where she owned a .500 batting average and had registered eight RBI, nine extra-base hits and 10 runs scored.
In the pitcher’s circle, however, is where most of her damage was being done where over four wins, she had an earned-run average of 2.8 while racking up 42 strikeouts compared to allowing just six walks.
Roecker then called No. 11 up to bat one last time, playing her walkup song, Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” that she said the team made plenty of memories to this year.
“Feeling pretty sad because I didn't expect my senior year to go this way; I didn't think I'd literally be sitting outside the gate for my senior night, but it was memorable,” Gonzalez said after the line of cars drove by honking their horns, dropping off flowers and offering congratulations. “This year, we made a lot of memories with that song. Just means a lot to me that everyone came out to support me.”
She added the same sentiment toward Coach Nilius, who certainly wasn’t forced to honor the lone senior.
“Yes, it is (really special) honestly, normal coaches would just say, ‘OK, we won’t have a senior night this year, that's it,’” said Gonzalez. “But my coach made an effort -- more than beyond an effort -- to make this day happen for me.”
Although she will continue her athletic career at the collegiate level, she was sure to thank those who played a role in her reaching this point to begin with.
“Everybody meant something to me. Everyone's contributed something to be where I am here today,” she said. “A lot of my teammates I've bonded with over the years and even the new freshmen I really got to bond with. I know not as much as most people, but I'm going to miss every last one of them.”