After the coronavirus pandemic shut down what would have been his final season on the pitching staff for Coastal Bend Junior College, the college granted its spring sport athletes an extra season of eligibility, allowing Sealy High alum Devin Aguado a chance to make his third – and last – season as a Cougar a big one.
Devin Aguado graduated as a member of Sealy’s Class of 2018 and was a key component of the Tiger baseball squad that finished as regional semifinalists his junior year. He had been gearing up for what was supposed to be a solid sophomore campaign that put him on the map of some college coaches but instead left for spring break and never returned to campus.
“I was planning on going back to school; our coaches gave us a week off and then they said ‘This COVID-19 has taken over so y'all got a longer extension to spring break,’” Aguado recounted in a June 24 phone interview. “Then that happened to turn into months of quarantine basically.”
Aguado said he took advantage of the time off earlier in his return to life under his parents’ roof but has since been back on a baseball grind, pitching in a collegiate summer league to keep him in shape. He also recently participated in a Sealy Tiger baseball alumni game on Cheryl Mellenthin Field at B&PW Park on June 18 and reunited with former teammates to pick up a 6-2 win over current and recently graduated members of the high school team.
“I’m glad we were able to play. With everything that’s going on, it was good to see the high schoolers get to play one more game in Sealy,” Aguado said. “Credit to (Sealy head baseball) Coach (Dane) Bennett and the school board for allowing us to play this game and hopefully it's gonna be a yearly thing because I'd really like playing there again.”
Although the alumni game was more for fun, the summer league he’s participating in is a little more rigorous with top-tier college players duking it out on the diamond for more exposure and reps following a shortened season. Aguado pitches for Texas Lonestar Baseball, a team in the South Texas region of the Five Tool Summer Collegiate League, where he gets to throw in one of the team’s three weekly games in the season that will run through July.
Aguado said there are a couple of friendly faces on his squad but is still getting to know the rest of his teammates.
“Small world, I actually have a teammate that I go to school with that's playing with me and then just this past week, we picked up Arturo Hernandez,” Aguado said of a former Tiger teammate and member of Sealy’s Class of 2019. “It’s only like the second week so I haven't fully remembered everybody's name yet, but they don't even know my name either ’cause I'll be pitching in they'll say, ‘Hey, good job, man, great job 10.”
Still, it’s competitive baseball that will prepare him for what should be the biggest year of his collegiate career when the junior-college grind pays off.
“JUCO is definitely different than your four-year schools, people call kids that take the JUCO route ‘JUCO bandits,’” Aguado said. “I would say school’s a little easier but for baseball, coaches are going to help you and give the best advice he can but a lot of the stuff you have to do on your own. If you want to go somewhere after those two years and improve on your game, then you need to really put in the work yourself.”
Aguado has been an example of putting in the extra work and although he hasn’t received as much interest from other schools as he had hoped, he knows next season will be the difference-maker.
“Making good grades, cherishing what will definitely my last year there, having a really good year and proving people wrong; proving myself wrong mainly,” Aguado said of what he most looked forward to in year three.
Looking back on his time at Sealy during the alumni game, Aguado said there was plenty of nostalgia going around in the first-base dugout at Mellenthin Field that night.
“It was a good time, a lot of memories,” Aguado said. “Me and Will Cerny just started talking about high school memories from during the game and before and after the game and we both thought, ‘Damn we missed this.’”
Aguado didn’t need much time of reflection to come up with what serves as some of his top memories from being a Tiger.
“I really enjoyed my senior year because it was my last year, but I'd have to go junior year when we went four rounds deep (in the postseason),” he said. “Just the process that went into each playoff game that we had. It had its ups and downs but we found a way, always. Unfortunately, we got stopped but it happens; it's the game of baseball, you never know what's going to happen.”