The Brazos Cougarettes made the trip up Highway 36 to square off with the Sealy Lady Tigers in the final tune-up before the softball regular season began earlier this week.
Dustin Nilius became the third head coach in as many years over the softball program in Wallis and although he inherited only one senior, he looks forward to going to battle with the entire crop of Cougarette softballers this year.
“We competed very well tonight,” he said after it was all said and done. “On defense, we made our plays that we had to. We're really young, we only have one senior but then we start a freshman and about four sophomores. It's the biggest thing right now; we're going to make a few mistakes here and there. But like I told them before the other scrimmages, if we compete and get after it, we're going to be fine. At the plate, we're learning our approach and once we get that we're going to be dangerous there too.”
Brazos showed that explosiveness in the final inning where six runs were put up in a blink of the eye, displaying the work that’s been put in so far. Sealy, however, had already plated seven runs.
“The big inning there, at the plate we were patient,” Nilius said. “We were patient, we got our approach and we stuck with it. We didn't try to do too much. You know, a lot of teams will score two or three and then they want to try to hit a home run or they want to try to gap something on the left side. We stayed with our middle to opposite field approach and put pressure on them. That's the biggest thing is to put pressure on other teams, and we stay patient.”
The plays were made on the defensive side of the ball and if all goes well, Nilius looks forward to what the team can accomplish by the end of the year.
“I'm confident in what we're going to do. As long as we improve every single day; everybody wants to take something every single day and improve at it,” the coach said. “We're going to take small steps at everything. That first three, four weeks, we may not be at full speed. We're still trying to get stuff ironed out but going into it, I think just the fact of competing and learning how to do everything at a fast pace and putting pressure on other teams I think will be our biggest thing.”
The Cougarettes were able to test some of that out against a Sealy team that currently sits two classifications above the school in Wallis but will be only one level away in the new realignment.
“It's big, and they're a lot bigger school than we are,” Nilius said. “Like I told the girls, ‘I don't care who we're playing. I don't care if it's a rival, I don't care if it's somebody six hours away, we're going to come out with intensity every single pitch.’ I don't want to get too high. I don't want to get too low. I want to stay that even keel and play our game. It doesn't matter who it is, we play our game.”
Their regular season got underway against Faith Academy of Bellville at Brazos’ home diamond Tuesday evening before the Cougarettes head to a tournament at Rice Consolidated this weekend. Nilius expects some big things this year and will rely upon his lone senior to lead the team.
“I'm looking forward to this group of girls. We have our one senior that's one of our big leaders, showing those younger girls how to do everything,” the coach said. “Allie Gonzalez is the senior and she's shown us the way. But the freshmen, sophomores and juniors, they're stepping up too. They're coming up to her level and getting done what we have to do and they're a very coachable group. They want to do well; they want to win. I think if we do the little things, we'll be fine.”