spt 4-29 Mathis Softballers Go Undefeated_1.jpg

The undefeated champs of District 29AAA, the Mathis Lady Pirates are, from left, back row assistant coach Rhett Bell, head coach Robert Bell, Celeste Acosta, Zailey Estrada, Anyssia Mendoza, Devyna Solis, Kalee Aguilar-Luna, Student Trainer Yadhira Eguia, Aliyah Montemayor, Joannah Espinoza and assistant coach Kendall Allen; from left, front row, Anisa Bordayo, Toni Rivera, Kylie Rodriguez, Diamond Deleon, Alina Sanchez and Gabby Guerrero The first round of playoffs will begin on April 30.

For the first time since 1995, the Mathis Lady Pirate Softball Team has not only advanced to the playoffs, they did so with a 14-0 winning streak. When they originally made it, they had a record of 6-0 since softball was relatively new in the area.

Second year Lady Pirate Softball Head Coach Robert Bell was on his way to possibly the same outcome last year before COVID-19 shut down the season prematurely.

“Most people don’t realize we were 11-4 going into our second district game last year before we got shut down,” Bell said. “So the team kind of felt cheated.”

He added that every year coaches pick a preseason all-star team that is recognized at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi but nearly all of the softball ladies were left out, even with a stellar shortened season.

“Because we didn’t get to play the whole season a lot of these girls didn’t get recognized, so none of them got picked for the preseason all-star teams,” Bell continued. “It’s coaches that pick those teams, but our girls didn’t get seen so some of them feel slighted.

“But it is what it is.”

The Lady Pirates seemed to use that as fuel as they tore through district this year and came out on top undefeated, rising above adversity that faced the team throughout the season. With only losing a few seniors last year, the team was essentially still intact and ready to play ball. 

During the season, Mathis had lost players due to injuries and COVID protocols with two sophomores and a freshman having to step up and fill in the remaining spots – which seemed to work out just fine.

“We’ve had a weird year,” Bell said. “It was hard for those sophomores and the freshmen to kind of break the ice and get in there, but they’ve gotten some playing time and it’s made a big difference.

“They all got to play in district and all got some experience, so I have three to replace the four seniors leaving next year for sure.”

Bell continued by saying that every year the softball team set goals for the season; first, go undefeated in district and make the playoffs, second, just make playoffs and third, make it to at least the third round.

They can check the first two off the list. It was just two years ago when the Lady Pirates were crowned bi-district champs, but are now set to possibly go even further with an undefeated season. They begin their playoff run April 30.

“Going undefeated was really special for them,” Bell added. “The main thing is they lived up to their first goal this year while overcoming adversity. They’ve also bonded over the season and worked really hard to get to where they’re at. 

“If we wouldn’t have worked hard, we wouldn’t have been 14-0 in district  because there were some really good teams in our district.

“After this season and last, I think we’re ready for anything that comes our way.”

•pgonzales@mysoutex.com•

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