Alvin Softball Seniors

The Alvin Lady Yellowjackets joined the Manvel Lady Mavericks and Shadow Creek Lady Sharks in seeing their softball seasons come to an end following the UIL's cancellation on Friday of the spring sports year for all high school athletics across Texas, due to Covid-19. Alvin seniors pictured include: (l-r) - Shae Montemayor - CF,  Mary Pourcio - 3B,  Jodie Aguirre - P, Katie Kincaide - LF, Alyssa Garivey - RF,  Briana Jensen - manager and  Sterling Coursey - trainer.

(Courtesy photo)

Editor's Note: This is part one of a two-part series. Part one

The University Interscholastic League officially cancelled all spring sports for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to Covid-19.

The announcement comes in the wake of all three local softball programs being poised to make respective deep playoff runs again when play was suspended last month.

Having made the postseason the last 23 of 24 years, the No. 2 state ranked Alvin Lady Yellowjackets  and head coach David McCorkle were off to an incredible 20-1 start with tournament championships at Bryan and the Haynie Strikeout Cancer Classic.

Senior ace Jodie Aguirre led the nation in victories, while the Lady Jackets were delivering one of the best overall offensive performances ever behind sophomores Victoria Valdez and Mindy Matthews, senior third baseman Mary Pourcio and the freshmen infield duo of Roni Harrison (first base) and Reagan Jones (shortstop).

Alvin also held a 1-0 mark in 24-6A play with 7-0 victory at Clear Lake on March 9.

The Manvel Lady Mavericks were also looking to extend a long playoff string, having advanced to the postseason the last nine of 11 years. Skip Dunham was receiving standout seasons from juniors Riley Bennett, Addison Greak and Karissa Schneider, along with senior Brittany Hood and freshmen Samantha Carder and   Ivaney Ramirez.

Manvel (9-8 overall) held a 2-1 record in 24-5A play when their season was suspended.

Shadow Creek received its first taste of postseason play in 2019 and was off to an impressive 14-2-1 start and 3-1 mark in 24-5A with one of their 24-5A triumphs coming at the expense of defending state champion Angleton on the road.

The head softball coaches from all three high schools were asked the following questions about the season progress and  what kind of impact the play stoppage has had on their respective programs.

Alvin’s David McCorkle - Question:. Talk about what made this team special and season in general.

McCorkle: “ This group has a special chemistry and a lot of talent throughout the lineup.  As far as chemistry, we have 14 players, two managers, a trainer and four coaches that I feel are all on the same page and same mission.  Which is not just to win a state championship, but to just to be the best team we can possibly be.  Not only on the field, but at home and in the classroom as well.  

“Our entire team are great students and there is no worry about them in the classroom.  We have several that are top in their class, which includes Jodie being one of the top three students in the 2020 graduation class. Everyone has a true love for each other, and a genuine interest in being a great team player.

“The talent is the deepest I have ever had throughout the entire roster.  Unfortunately we can only put nine to 10 in the starting lineup, but it leaves talent on the bench that can help us win.  All our kids tend to have the attitude to do whatever the team needs to win.  

“So we have kids that can come in and run bases, or pinch hit when needed.  I think we are above average in all parts of the game.  We have great pitching, a great catcher and defense.  Offensively we bring speed at the top of the lineup, power and average throughout the rest of the lineup with nine tough outs.  But talent can only get you so far, if the team chemistry isn’t where it needs to be.  This year we have an amazing team culture and I think the seniors have their job to make it the permanent culture of Jacket Softball.

“Being 20-1 is awesome, but it’s even better when you look at our schedule and the tournaments we have played in.  Over half of our games have been against really good teams, teams that are highly ranked in the state and even nationally.

“I feel like we have one of the best pitchers in the state and even country, Jodie Aguirre. As well as one of the best catchers around, Victoria Valdez.  We are pretty balanced in age as well.  We have great senior leadership with some great juniors and then our freshman and sophomore class have really helped us these last two years go to the next level.  

We start four to five underclassmen, with another one to two on the bench that are ready to play.  

Our coaching staff I feel is unmatched with two pitching coaches, both who played with a different pitching style.  Our staff is a great mix of all the things you need for a great staff!  I would even put our two senior managers and senior trainer as a huge part of our team.  They are truly special kids that bring a lot to our program.  All eight of our seniors are to credit for where this program and team is.

2. With this unprecedented situation, this has possibly brought the season to an end. Talk about your seniors. This has got to be real hard on them.

McCorkle: “We still hold on to hope that we haven’t played our last game, and that this group of seniors haven’t finished their great careers with Jacket softball.  Although, if we did see them play their last game it was an amazing four years with these kids.  These seniors “embraced the grind” for us for four years to get our program culture to where it is currently at.

“ I’m not sure if there is ever a perfect team culture, but this may be as close to it as it can be.  The entire team has completely bought into the way we want things to be done.  From off season to the weight room, to conditioning, to our warm ups, our hitting style, aggressive baserunning and just playing with an “all in” mentality.  I’m sure anyone that got the pleasure of watching this group and this team play this year would agree that they are truly fun to watch.

“This group of seniors took this team and this entire program to the next level.  If they have played their last game, and even if we get to get back out there this year. They have left an amazing legacy that will be remembered for a long time.

“Three straight district champions and what I think would have been four in a row this year.  Maybe even another undefeated run through a really good district this year.  Two trips to the regional semifinals. Hopefully we get to see what we do this year, But as of right now, the 2020 class has an overall record of 100-21, and district record of 37-3.  100 wins in three and half years is remarkable

3. How you have kept in contact with the girls and what their reactions to everything has been?

McCorkle: “We have team group text that we all stay in touch almost daily, as well as, two google hangouts online we do.  Every day throughout the season we do “AoG” (Attitude of Gratitude). Which is a chance for everyone to take a moment and think and talk about what they are truly grateful for.  So we have still been doing that a couple times a week.  I send them weekly workouts to do, and they are all working out on their own or with their families.”

Manvel’s Skip Dunham - Question: Talk about what made this team special and season in general.

Dunham: “This team had a chance to do something special this year based on our drive alone. We have grown through the year, been on ups and downs, had some tough injuries, but I believe we were turning a corner.

“We got through the grind of tournament season with no major injuries and some great experience. We played really well and really bad at times, but knew what it took to get the job done. I just hope we get a chance to finish the season somehow for the girls. They have worked really hard and I don’t want it to end this way.”

Question: With this unprecedented situation, this has possibly brought the season to an end. Talk about your seniors. This has got to be real hard on them.

Dunham: This has got to be brutal for my seniors. They are special to me, because they are my first four-year class and I have seen them through all of their years in this school. We have been through ups and downs and really wanted them to be able to have closure on their last time playing highschool softball. Nicole and Brittany have played a key role on this team for four years and it will be tough to lose them. I hope they are able to find the positive in this negative time and just remember its more than just the game itself.”

“Question:  How you have kept in contact with the girls and what their reactions to everything has been?

Dunham: “We have been staying in touch through video chat and remind101. We chat regularly and try to stay positive about the unknown. I have never heard so many people say “ I just want to go back to school.”  They are very hopeful we get to play again. Every time we talk, they all ask multiple times. I have to answer disappointingly “I dont know, I sure hope so.

“The girls have been doing workouts we have been assigning, throwing with their family, hitting as much as they can and a lot of bike rides. I have heard them talk about finding fields and trying to get some softball in, but it’s been tough not having the school available for workouts.”

Shadow Creek’s Kelly Bembry - Question: Talk about what made this team special and season in general.

Bembry: This team as a unit decided when we lost out of the playoffs in 2019 to dedicate themselves to not feeling that way again. They spent all off season working on themselves athletically, working on themselves physically, and working together as a team. They have heart-and when it comes down to it-that was what it was going to take to make a good run in the playoffs in 2020.

Question: With this unprecedented situation, this has possibly brought the season to an end. Talk about your seniors. This has got to be real hard on them.

Bembry: “There’s not enough words in the dictionary I can use to describe them. Zara Bennett is the heart and soul of this team. She brings the energy, the competitiveness and is overall heartbeat to this team. Sydney Macias is one that the entire team looks up to when tough times arise. She demonstrates unprecedented leadership and compassion for her teammates.

“Aaliyah Murry brings smiles to her team. She has a silly side that keeps everyone at ease. Don’t mistaken her smile for not being one to work, this kid has worked her tail off to become a starter. Araceli Carrillo brings her Godly spirit to this team.  She is supportive and the spirit within her is helpful to her teammates when they seem off task. These seniors sat me down before school was out in 2019 and told me they wanted to win their last game. They told me to work them like I’ve never worked another team. These seniors have left a legacy not only with their team, but with me and the coaching staff as well. UIL hasn’t made a decision yet, so we are hoping and praying we get a chance. We are 14-2 right now, 3-1 in district play.”

Question: How you have kept in contact with the girls and what their reactions to everything has been?

Bembry: “I speak with them daily and weekly. I give them workouts each week and they send me videos and pictures on what they have done. This has been really tough for them, as we are a family and they haven’t seen their Shark softball family for four weeks now. They truly love and miss one another.”

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