Since the new decade started in 2010, there has been a Sealy softball team in the playoffs and the 2019 version was no different.
The Lady Tigers closed the regular season with an 8-3 mark in District 25-4A which secured the No. 3 seed heading into yet another postseason at Sealy High School.
They fell twice to the second-place El Campo Lady Ricebirds but handed No. 1 Needville its only loss on the district schedule while finishing above Fulshear and Wharton, who played an extra game to break a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Needing not to worry about any sort of play-in game, Sealy closed its regular season campaign on a pair of wins that coupled with a warm-up game that sent them headlong into a Bi-District best-of-three series with the La Grange Leopards.
The previous postseason meeting between those two squads came in 2013 in a Regional Final matchup that determined who advanced to the state championship. Current first base coach Mendi Nelson was among a host of other names listed on that roster although she and her Sealy teammates came up on the short end while the Lady Leps went on to hoist the state crown at the end of the tournament.
In the 2019 rematch, the teams competed in Class 4A instead of 3A and were guaranteed at least one home game each with the series starting in La Grange.
Game 1 was a back-and-forth affair with neither team seeming to be able to retain any sort of lead. Some of the eight seniors for the Lady Tigers stepped up with major contributions to tie the game up in the late innings but the Lady Leps had some extra magic left in their back pocket on their home diamond and pulled out a 5-4 win last Thursday evening.
The following night had the opportunity to turn into a doubleheader if Sealy could manage to win Game 2 to force a decisive Game 3 to determine once and for all which district is better 25 or 26.
It was more of a pitcher’s duel the second time around with neither team putting the scoreboard operator to work until the top of the fifth when La Grange benefitted on an error to put one in the visitor’s run column.
Senior Raygan Snyder tied things up in the bottom half of that same inning with a sacrifice fly and the momentum shift once again reset at zero. Kendall Dornak set the Lady Leps down in order but Megan Hennessey ended up stranded at third to close play in the sixth inning.
A slap double to left with an out in the seventh was followed by an intentional walk before Dornak secured the final two outs to send Makaylah Scott to the plate with a chance to extend the game for the Lady Tigers. Her single eventually turned into her sitting on third base but at the cost of a pair of sacrifices and it was again Dornak who strode to the plate with the game on the line, the same way she walked Sealy off on senior night over Fulshear.
The perfect storm was not created the same way this time, however, and a groundout served as the end of the road for another senior-heavy Lady Tiger softball team 5-4, although the rest of their story is just beginning.
For the rest of the team, the sour taste will linger in the minds of the underclassmen who will soon assume those leadership roles they have observed for so long to possibly inflate the playoff streak beyond its reaches so far.