Following the ninth trip to the postseason for Sealy softball this decade, 11 Lady Tigers made all-district teams with every member of the varsity team landing academic all-district distinction as well as even more cracking academic all-state lists.
The 2019 Sealy softball team finished the district slate 8-3 having only lost to El Campo twice and No. 1 Needville once while handing the top-seeded team its only loss of the season.
The Lady Tigers drew a matchup with La Grange, District 26 runner-up, and although Sealy came out on the short side in two games of the best-of-three series, each loss was by only one run.
On top of that, the Lady Leopards went on to get swept by Fredericksburg in the regional quarterfinal who went all the way to the state semifinals before falling to eventual 4A state champion, Huffman Hargrave.
In Sealy, 11 athletes (four first-team, three second-team, three honorable mentions and a superlative) were voted to groups marking the best of the best in District 25-4A and the longtime Lady Tiger leadoff hitter leads off this list with her offensive MVP honor.
Makaylah Scott, who tore her ACL in volleyball and still missed parts of the beginning of the schedule, made her return to the top of Sealy’s lineup on March 8 and seemingly the missing piece was back in its rightful spot.
“If she wasn’t in the leadoff spot, it seemed like we couldn’t really get rallies going but as soon as she came back it was like everything fell into place,” head coach Brittney Whitehead said.
Scott, who is set to play softball at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, is just one of a solid core of eight graduating seniors that played a crucial role in this year’s success.
Joining that list is Kendall Dornak, who shouldered much of the load in the pitcher’s circle and was honored with first-team all-district distinction for it.
Making up the other end of that battery was catcher Raygan Snyder, who was also named as the district's first-team catcher on top of being the team co-MVP.
One other Lady Tiger who saw time in that circle, as well as a variety of other positions, was sophomore Kayla Camacho who garnered first-team all-district utility status and will be looked upon to be a big contributor to Whitehead’s team next year.
“I told her ‘You’re going to be a leader next year, if you’re pitching well, we’re going to be fine, our defense will be great,’” Whitehead said.
Also grabbing first-team all-district distinction was junior Reagan Hoffpauir for her contributions at third base all year and Whitehead will be leaning on her experience next year as well.
“I am bringing back two that were juniors this year, (Megan) Hennessey and Hoffpauir, who are going to be assets to our team offensively and they’re going to step up to be leaders and lead these sophomores and freshmen that are coming in to understand what we’re all about in our program,” Whitehead added.
Hennessey was one of the three second-team all-district selections for the Lady Tigers from the outfield, joining graduating seniors Diari Dabney (outfield) and Danielle Bersche (infield) in earning the honor on their way out.
Also finishing their high school softball careers on a high note were Faith Haugen, Makenzie Menke, and Kelsie Prazak who all made honorable mention all-district and all made a lasting impression on Coach Whitehead as well.
“Faith Haugen actually took off a year of softball to focus on running track and decided to come back her senior year and play, so after sitting out a year she started the season off really well at second base and putting the ball in play,” said Whitehead. “I was really proud of how she came back and helped the team.”
“Then Kelsie Prazak was a move-in from Foster, actually, and she was on JV last year, she helped us out pitching and wherever we needed her and only ran bases last year and this year she came in as a big pinch hitter and got some big hits,” Whitehead added.
“I can’t say a kid works harder than Makenzie, she knew her bat was struggling at the plate and that’s what she was focusing on this year and we just couldn’t get it to where we wanted it to be but her defense was awesome and she always worked really hard in practice and in games,” Whitehead said.
All of the previously mentioned athletes (Scott, Dornak, Snyder, Camacho, Hoffpauir, Dabney, Hennessey, Bersche, Haugen, Prazak and Menke) as well as Avery Oliver, Brooke Kram and Justice Jett were all bestowed academic all-district honors on top of the ones already handed out and these students didn’t stop there with their classroom efforts.
Bersche was named to the elite academic all-state team and also finished first overall in her class, and Dabney and Haugen landed on the first-team academic all-state.
Dornak added second-team academic all-state distinction and the rest of the seniors (Scott, Prazak, Menke and Raygan Snyder) all took home honorable mention academic all-state honors as well and not for just skating by in your run-of-the-mill classes.
“These girls were great in the classroom, pretty much all of them take AP classes so it’s not like they’re just coasting through on regular schedules,” Whitehead said. “They challenged themselves all the time, I think Dani took five AP classes and came out as the valedictorian, so that was really cool to see a lot of my girls in the top 10% of their class and graduate with honors.”
Whitehead used the phrase “my girls,” as most coaches do with their players, but elaborated on those close-knit relationships that she has formed with student-athletes that mean more to her than just a name on a roster.
“The past two years, this group in particular since it’s such a big group of kids, has made becoming a head coach at my age easy, they welcomed me in, they bought into my program, they understood what I was trying to do, they wanted to win and they executed it by making playoffs two years in a row,” Whitehead said. “So it’s going to be really hard to see these kids leave when I feel like they are my children in a way.”